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A fall without Friday night lights: Athletes react to postponement

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(WBNG) -- Athletes across the Southern Tier are staying positive after finding out high-risk sports are postponed until next March.

"Definitely a relief. I hate being on the edge of can we play, can we not play," said Chenango Forks football player Ray Austin.

"It was very exciting to know at least we were going to be able to do it," said Union-Endicott cheerleader Elizabeth Haley.

The two seniors spent the last few months rallying their teams together for workouts. Organized team practices are not allowed to begin until September 21.

"A leader in each stunt group has been getting their group together and we'd go down to the field and work on our skills," said Haley.

"Me, Lucas (Scott) and some of the other guys were trying to get the kids together as much as we could just to get ready for a possible season," said Austin.

Schools across Section IV are still mapping out their plan for sports this fall, but Austin and Haley are hopeful they'll be able to practice under their coaches soon.

"We're still going to keep working hard, hopefully get the coaches out there too," said Austin.

Each sport is impacted in a different way.

For cheerleaders, the winter season holds the highest level of competition. Without a fall season, they'll have less time to prepare.

"It's a little nerve wracking knowing we're going to have to do our fast-paced competitive season first," said Haley.

For multi-sport athletes, the overlap in seasons next spring is causing concerns.

Union-Endicott sophomore Ireland Bambara plays softball and cheers.

"Personally I cannot choose between which sport, I love both," she said.

If playing both at the same time is the option, Bambara said she will make it work.

"Cheer is very consuming, along with softball," said Bambara. "I think I could do it. I don't want to have to do it but if it came down to it I feel like I should."

The overlap is also on Austin's mind.

"I love baseball too. Even though I love football a little more, I still want to play baseball," he said.

Ultimately, it is up to the sections to allow athletes to participate in two sports at once.

While a postponed fall season isn't ideal, athletes are looking forward to the return.

"All we want to do is be together and do what we love," said Bambara.

"I just want to be on the field again and play with my friends," said Austin.

Nicole Menner

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