Academic Center Fall sports takes an abrupt end

AC+Soccer+midfielder+Robert+Mann+%28Div.+511%29+maneuvers+pass+the+Portage+Park+defense.+Photographer+Anny+Martinez.

AC Soccer midfielder Robert Mann (Div. 511) maneuvers pass the Portage Park defense. Photographer Anny Martinez.

Melissa Parra , Reporter

After weeks of practice and with just a couple games into the season, the Academic Center (AC) Fall sports competition makes an abrupt end due to the delay caused by the CTU Strike and weather conditions in November.

Sports Can Open Roads to Excellence, also known as SCORE, is the program that organizes elementary school sports including Taft’s AC. The CTU Strike, Oct. 17 to Oct. 31, disrupted the fall sports season pushing games well into November, and then the colder than average temperatures and snow led CPS to officially cancel outdoor Fall sports, which impacted AC Boys Soccer, Cross Country, and 16” Softball.

On Nov. 14, coaches received a notice from the Office of Sports Administration stating:

– As of today, fields for both sports were reported as “not playable” by our Park District partners and several CPS sites. These conditions will not change for the foreseeable future.

– We currently do not have enough games played to determine an appropriate and fair playoff scenario (Some teams have 1 game due to the work stoppage).

– Without the notion of a championship, attempting to play consolation games on questionable field conditions not only dampens the experience for our students, but also puts them in harm’s way.

– Student safety is our number one priority. The temperature and field conditions are directly related to that and neither are conducive to participation at this point.

Boys Soccer Coach Jorge Martinez said, “It’s unfortunate for the students as this took away their opportunity to compete, especially for the 8th graders who will be transitioning to high school next year.”

The boys team had won two of the two games played with a 12 to zero goal differential. They were undefeated and preparing for playoffs, but the season was canceled.

“The boys were excited as they knew they could compete for the championship. It was a very talented team with a winning mentality. I know they will move forward and be ready to compete next year,” said Martinez.

AC Cross Country, coached by Karen Devine and Sara Solger, also missed the city championship due to the strike. Theresa Giba, Brendan Bradish, and Brady KatoakaI would have competed.

“We ran against many CPS and private school teams. We had two fun meets, the Notre Dame Invitational and the Rising Runner Invitational hosted by Lane. I look forward to seeing all of our runners back in the spring for track, as well as any other Academic Center students who would like to have a blast,” said Devine.

Dick Pond Sporting Goods and Nike offered to have a city state meet for all CPS runners, and the AC did that in the freezing cold last Friday, Nov. 8.

Still in action, the AC Girls Volleyball teams, Red and Blue, coached by Leslie Leleniewski and Evelyn Medina, continue to play at the Varsity Campus. The City-wide competition is scheduled for Nov. 23 at  Quest Multisport (2641 W. Harrison St.).

Although the athletes of AC sports had an early end to the season, they will be able to continue their game next year.