Bocce Team starts up 2021-2022 season


Former Head Coach Dr. Spaid and current Head Coach Mrs. Hoover.

Rylee C. Ogden, Staff Writer

The Clearfield Area Junior-Senior High School’s Bocce Team is starting up its 2021-2022 season. This will be approximately the fifth year Clearfield High School has had a Bocce team. Bocce is usually classified as a lawn game where two teams take turns rolling the bocce balls at the smaller ball, the pallino, which is the ultimate target. However, the high school level is played in a gymnasium or hallway. Although the overall goal is the same, whomever is closest to the pallino wins the game.

There are about seven total members this year, six of whom are returning members. Mrs. Hoover is returning for her third year of coaching and first year as head coach of the bocce team after Dr. Spaid’s retirement last year. Mrs. Hoover has Mrs. Spila as a new coach this year.

As a new head coach, Mrs. Hoover shared her favorite aspect of coaching. She explained, “​Just getting students together and having some fun. It is also great to meet the player’s parents.” Mrs. Hoover also shared the challenges she has faced this year as head coach and in previous years as an assistant coach.

Coach Hoover stated, “Of course, Covid restrictions have been ​a challenge the last couple of years, getting enough gymnasium practice time, keeping up with all the paperwork and rule changes that occur every year, and arranging transportation for after practices. We had a make-shift court in the hallway down by Mr. Lytle’s and Mr. Pistner’s rooms until this year when Mr. Shimmel (Asst. Athletic Director) helped to schedule our two required weekly practices in the gymnasium. In March 2019 our team was headed to the State PIAA Bocce Playoffs when the state of PA closed everything down except for essential workers. This was just days before we were to leave for Hershey to compete at the State PIAA BOCCE Playoffs, and we had to cancel all of our arrangements. Then, the 2019-2020 season had Covid restrictions and not a lot of other high schools had teams for us to compete against. So, we competed against the football/wrestling team members and had a senior night against two faculty teams with a championship game of seniors versus their favorite faculty member.”

COVID-19 was a significant roadblock for the team last season. Mrs. Hoover further explained, “We were given several options from the Special Olympics of PA/PIAA on how to run our season:  ​either as a Bocce team or as a heptathlon ​team competing against ourselves. We chose to have our bocce team while most schools either did not have a bocce team or went the heptathlon way. We then decided to play a match against the players of the football/wrestling teams and to have a bocce team vs. the CAJSHS faculty and staff Senior Night for fun.”

Mrs. Hoover gave some insight into what a typical season looks like. She stated, “Typically, we have 4-6 games before the League Championship game with the League’s winning team competing against the other League Champions in the Regional Qualifying Groups for slots for the PIAA/SOPA State Bocce Championship matches in Hershey. This year the PIAA Bocce teams are divided into Districts and then into regions, so the playoff system is a little different from previous years.”

This season, as of right now, matches will be held. The Clearfield team will be playing teams from Curwensville, Mo Valley, and West Branch. These matches start after school around 3:30 p.m. lasting until about 5:45-6 p.m.

Coach Hoover wanted to leave readers with a lasting thought, “Bocce is easy to learn but a lot harder to execute. There is more strategy and skill than just rolling the ball down the court. We especially enjoy all of our ‘Fans In The Stands’ and having lots of spirited people cheering us on. So, come to our home matches and enjoy watching our Bocce matches.”