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John Carroll suspends athletics indefinitely, shifts back to distance learning through Thanksgiving

Fans enjoyed one Friday night of football at John Carroll last week as the Patriots hosted Archbishop Curley.
Fans enjoyed one Friday night of football at John Carroll last week as the Patriots hosted Archbishop Curley. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

Effective Wednesday, the John Carroll School in Bel Air has suspended all athletics immediately and indefinitely.

The school, along with other schools in the MIAA and IAAM conferences, began masked face-to-face athletic competition on Oct. 31 and games/matches were played through Tuesday, before the suspension was announced.

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John Carroll's Emma Bison stays focused on the ball and prepares to return the volley Tuesday. The tennis match was the final athletic contest played at John Carroll before the announced suspension.
John Carroll's Emma Bison stays focused on the ball and prepares to return the volley Tuesday. The tennis match was the final athletic contest played at John Carroll before the announced suspension. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

Athletics are not the only changes being made at the private school.

“Effective tomorrow we are temporarily shifting back to distance learning through Thanksgiving. This is not in response to Governor Hogan’s remarks last night, but rather due to rapidly increasing cases throughout Harford County as well as recent confirmed and possible cases at the school,” Kathy Walsh, director of strategic marketing and communications at John Carroll, wrote in an email.

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“It is important to note that contact tracing has not linked any transmission to either the classroom or athletics at John Carroll, but rather to activities that took place outside of school. We believe this decision is in the best interest of our students, staff and families at this time, but hope to be able to safely resume hybrid learning as well as athletics as soon as conditions permit.”

John Carroll teams, both varsity and junior varsity, had teams playing in nine sports. Among varsity teams, football and boys volleyball both played just one game/match each.

Boys soccer had played three so far. “The announcement is disappointing for sure as sports have been the return to normalcy that kids have been needing. Talking with many students, not just my athletes, about their favorite part of the current school year so far, every answer reflected how sports allowed them to see their friends on a daily basis,” boys soccer head coach Jim Fendryk said.

“For John Carroll soccer, we were able to get back out and have some fun doing what we love. We made some great progress as a team over the course of the past few weeks and felt we were really ready to compete at the highest level. I feel awful for my senior guys. We thought we’d have another opportunity to go out and compete and it looks like that isn’t happening. No more chances for those guys to pull on the black and gold.”

Members of the John Carroll girls soccer team celebrated with teammate Sydney Queen after her goal in a match against Notre Dame Preparatory School at John Carroll.
Members of the John Carroll girls soccer team celebrated with teammate Sydney Queen after her goal in a match against Notre Dame Preparatory School at John Carroll. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

Girls soccer and field hockey played two games each, while girls volleyball, like boys soccer, saw game action three times.

Cross-country teams, both boys and girls, ran one meet each. “It’s definitely disappointing to postpone. I have an awesome group of girls on the cross-country team who have been working hard and looking very good in practice and the one real meet we had,” girls head coach Robert Torres said. “I’m grateful we at least got what we did and they were able to work together as a team."

The girls tennis team actually completed its short season, playing its third and final match Tuesday.

“It’s crazy times, our coaches, our staff, our kids, have really done a great job with it,” John Carroll Athletic Director Seth Goldberg said.

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