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Games throughout Queens canceled

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From Division I colleges to Catholic and Public School high schools, they unilaterally agreed. This was no time to play games.

Following the lead set by professional leagues, the athletic fields at Queens colleges and high schools were empty this week as sporting events throughout the city and across the country were canceled in wake of the national tragedies on Sept. 11.

St. John’s University, the nation’s largest Catholic university, followed the lead of the Big East Conference and canceled all of its sporting events through Sunday on Sept. 12. The Red Storm volleyball team was slated to play at St. Peter’s in Jersey City on the night of the World Trade Center attack. They were also scheduled to play in the Bucknell Invitational in Lewisburg, Pa. over the weekend, but that tournament was also canceled.

After calling off a game at Columbia Wednesday night, the St. John’s soccer team’s pivotal conference game at the University of Connecticut scheduled for Saturday night was postponed. The Big East selected Nov. 6 as the make-up date.

The St. John’s football team’s Northeast Conference game at St. Francis College in Loretto, Pa. was also postponed and is unlikely to be rescheduled. The Red Storm cross country, golf and women’s soccer teams events were also canceled.

“We mourned with the rest of New York and the nation, to postpone all athletic contests in observance of the terrible tragedies that occurred last week,” said Kathy Meehan, St. John’s Associate Vice President for Athletics. “Our coaches have spoken to our student athletes and we are offering counseling and other services to those who need it. Certainly, it will be difficult to start back up again, but we must begin the healing process and return to some sense of normalcy. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families who have lost loved ones and friends during these difficult times.”

The Public School Athletic League canceled all of its football games scheduled for Saturday afternoon as well as all extra-circular activities, which included boys soccer practices, during the week.

“It’s appropriate, football is secondary right now,” said Springfield Gardens football coach Rod Schatt. “It’s not even in the picture.”

While Campus Magnet football coach Jimmy Ryan agreed it was right not to play Saturday, he did have some concern for the seniors on his team who will now miss two weeks of games as the Bulldogs didn’t play its first scheduled game because Thomas Jefferson forfeited.

“They understood and thought it was right not to play,” Ryan said. “I just wish they’d reschedule it for the seniors.”

The Queens PSAL football games that were canceled were Flushing at Bryant, Campus Magnet at Evander Childs, John Adams at Far Rockaway, Columbus at Springfield Gardens, Fort Hamilton at Bayside, August Martin at Port Richmond and Long Island City at McKee/Staten Island Tech. The team will be back on the field this week, playing its regularly scheduled Week Three games.

Bayside High School coach Joe Capuana agreed with the PSAL’s decision to call off the games, but was not sure whether or not the slate of games will be made up at the end of the season, an action the Catholic High School Football League was expected to take Monday evening.

“I’d like to see the games made up,” Capuana said. “I think it’s up to the commissioner and I guess what they feel about how they’re going to get it done. They can put it at the end of the year and extend the playoffs by a week. That game is going to affect some teams at the end of the season. This past week might become important. I would like to play the games.”

The PSAL moved to nine-game schedule this year, eliminating preseason games for teams. If the games will not be made up, some teams will be left at a disadvantage, such as Bayside, which would then have just three home games and five on the road.

Bayside, which will host Susan Wagner this Saturday, will donate all the proceeds from the game to the police and fire departments widows’ fund.

The CHSFL and Catholic High School Athletic Association acted swiftly, moving last weekend’s football games to the weekend of Nov. 3 and pushing the playoffs back a week, while the CHSAA canceled all its interscholastic sporting events until Monday, leaving it in the hands of the individual schools to make up and games missed.

“We’re going to officially do it tonight, but tentatively what we had decided is its going to be the Nov., 3 week, which was going to be the first week of the playoffs,” Holy Cross coach Tom Pugh said Monday.

Paul Gilvary, the head soccer coach at Holy Cross agreed with the League’s decision.

“It’s basically just up to the individual school to reschedule any games that may have been canceled and that’s what we’re going to do,” Gilvary said. “It was a very smart thing to do. It just wouldn’t have been appropriate to try and play games. I think they made a good decision.”

Also canceled was the 10th annual New York All-Star Basketball Classic, which draws such NBA stars as Lamar Odom, Mark Jackson and Stephon Marbury in a charity basketball game that benefits Wheelchair Charities and Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island. The game was scheduled for Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Boxing promoter Joe DeGuardia also pushed back a card slated for Wednesday, Aug. 19, at Yonkers Raceway, which was to feature Queens heavyweight Vinny Maddalone to Oct. 3.

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