• Will the EEE threat keep student athletes from celebrating Senior Night?

    By: Wale Aliyu

    Updated:

    WALPOLE, Mass. - We were all hoping by this point the threat for EEE would be over, but even though it's been a little cooler outside, it's not. On Monday, a 4th person died from the mosquito-borne virus, proving that the threat remains.

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    Now, high school athletes are crossing their fingers for two dates on their calendars.

    Ask almost any high school athlete competing in fall sports in the Bay State League and they'll tell you as the fall sports regular season wraps up the two main things that they’re focusing on are planning their Senior Nights and prepping for the playoffs.

    But will the EEE threat be over by then?

    From football to soccer to field hockey, all the teams have one simple request: frost.

    "It's been so warm, we have not had a hard frost," said Carrie McInerney, a parent. "Everyone thought by this time we will definitely be having night games and the EEE [threat] would be gone by now, but unfortunately that has not been the case. It's been so mild."

    Athletic directors throughout the Bay State spent the entire fall sports season adjusting games and practices to meet a curfew that only gets earlier depending on dusk.

    'The hardest thing has been scheduling," said Bill Tompkins, the former Walpole Athletic Director. "We have good such good sports programs, and everybody wants certain fields. We are not a town that has a lot of fields. Still trying to get everything in before 6 o'clock is very difficult."

    Without a long frost to kill off mosquitoes, the coveted Senior Night game at many schools will also be subject to change.

    "We're hoping for a frost to come soon because our Senior Night game, it would not be the same if it was here or not the turf, with the seniors having it be their last game," said Emma McInerney who plays soccer for Walpole High School. "It wouldn't be as memorable."

    And that's not the only thing the mosquitos are threatening.

    "Practicing a little later, practicing at night, getting some night games so we start playoffs in two weeks," said Chris Sullivan, the head coach of Walpole High School football. "And that's our hope."

    The coaches told Boston 25 News that having condensed practices on a limited number of fields for multiple sports also makes it hard to find enough officials to make the early-start games.

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