Suffolk’s indoor track season delayed by insurance hurdle

The Suffolk County high school winter indoor track season has been delayed for the past two weeks because of an insurance issue, according to Tom Combs, the executive director of Section XI. The county’s governing body of high school athletics leader said Section XI has been working on a resolution and that he is optimisitic the season can start soon.

The season was halted two days before the start of the season when Suffolk County Community College officials informed Section XI of the problem. The county’s events take place at the SCCC campus in Brentwood.

“We were told that the personal injury liability had increased, and our current insurance policy did not meet the requirements of the college,” Combs said. “We had a one-million dollar insurance policy for the past seven years. The indoor facility now required a two-million-dollar policy.”

Combs said he hopes to have the issue resolved shortly.

“It is our contention that we’ll be running in Suffolk County Community College next weekend,” Combs said. “We’ve been scrambling to get this done, to find the right insurance company to meet the requirement. Winter track is an integral part of our sports program. The last thing we want is to cancel our winter track program because we didn’t have an adequate indoor facility. That’s not an option — we would never do that.”

St. Anthony’s is the only other potential host for an indoor track season in Suffolk, but the facility also hosts the regular crossover and postseason meets for Nassau’s Section VIII and the CHSAA.

Suffolk girls and boys indoor track and field coordinator Tony Toro said every team missed one meet last weekend and they are hosting some outdoor meets this weekend.

“We will try to make up for the meets that were missed last weekend at some point this season,” Toro said. “In terms of getting a resolution by next week, I’m optimistic. If things work out, I’m sure they’ll be competing indoors.”

However, despite not yet being permitted to run at Suffolk CCC, some county schools are still running indoors this Saturday at either the Jim Mitchell Invitational at The Armory in Manhattan, the Nassau County Invitational at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on Staten Island, or in a developmental meet at St. Anthony’s.

“If this gets resolved and we’re back inside next weekend, it’s a home run,” Bayport-Blue Point coach Vin Ungaro said. “It’s hard to describe how much this means. These are kids that, last year, had to race outdoors in a season that didn’t count and had no postseason. Coming into this year, all the fall sports went off without a hitch because they’re outside. Then this was a real gut punch because everybody was ready to go inside and race for the first time in two years. The kids were bummed. If we’re back in next weekend, I applaud the efforts of everybody involved to get the kids back on the track.”