You'd be hard-pressed to find a better date to announce that Section 2 Athletics is adding another varsity sport for girls. Feb. 7 is National Girls and Women in Sports Day, and the new option for female student-athletes? Flag football.
Karen Bechdol, the City School District of Albany's assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and professional development, and Steve Boynton, the interim director of health, physical education and athletics, joined administrators from throughout the Capital Region on Wednesday to outline local implementation for girls on the gridiron.
"The City School District of Albany is incredibly proud to offer this significant opportunity to our student-athletes," said Bechdol.
"The addition of girls' wrestling this winter, and now girls' flag football this spring, means more Falcons are able to participate in a sport, represent their school community and be part of a team."
Albany High will begin practicing March 11. The inaugural 2024 season will include 10 games, starting April 10, and will be topped off with a sectional championship in late May followed by the first-ever state flag football championship game in Cortland.
Currently, flag football is only a varsity sport. However, girls in grades 7-8 who are interested in participating on Albany High's varsity team this spring can be evaluated under the Athletic Placement Process.
To help kick off girls' flag football in our area, the New York Giants donated $30,000 and Laborers Local 190 is giving $10,000. The grants will be divided amongst all of the participating Section 2 high schools and will offset the cost of coaches, equipment and uniforms.
"We hope every girl and coach in Section 2 feels the support of the New York Giants ... we're here to let them know they can do anything they want," said Tara Belinsky, the Giants' community and youth football manager.