Interscholastic athletics in the Riverhead Central School District is a component of the physical education program and therefore is an integral part of the district’s comprehensive educational program.  Athletics should be a broadening experience in which harmony of mind, body and spirit is created through striving for physical and mental excellence.  This value-building experience should be offered to as many students as possible.  A well coordinated program is vitally important to the morale of Riverhead H.S., M.S. and our community.  Participating in the Athletic Program at Riverhead is a privilege that must be earned by being a student in good standing, and by abiding by this Athletic Handbook.

        Everyone involved in the delivery of athletics possesses a unique opportunity to teach positive life skills and values.  Therefore, this educational experience demands highly qualified coaches.  The students’ qualities of loyalty, desire, dedication, self-control, initiative, enthusiasm, ambition, resourcefulness, reliability, integrity and self-discipline need to be developed in order to ensure the commitment and personal sacrifice required by athletes. Making such a commitment helps to nurture integrity, pride, loyalty and overall character.  The final outcome is a better citizen carrying these values throughout their life.
It is the nature of athletic competition to strive for victory.  However, the number of victories is only one criterion when determining a season’s success.  Guiding the team to attain maximum potential is the ultimate goal.  To this end, the coaching staff must teach student-athletes to prepare their minds and bodies in order to reach maximum potential and then to be modest in victory and steadfast in defeat.

        Ultimately, the number of teams and size of the squad in any sport will be determined by student interest and the availability of 1) financial resources, 2) qualified coaches, 3) suitable indoor or outdoor facilities, and 4) a safe environment.


Varsity Program Philosophy

        Varsity competition is the culmination of each sport’s program.  It is possible but very rare for a middle school level student to be included on a varsity roster.  The New York State Department of Education process for moving a 7th or 8th grade student up to a high school team is called Selection/Classification.  This process has been developed to identify “exceptional athletes” and provide qualified athletes with an opportunity to play at a level commensurate with their ability. 

        Squad size at the varsity level is limited.  The number of participants on any given team is a function of those needed to conduct an effective and meaningful practice and to play the contest.  It is vital that each team member has a role and is informed of, as well as understands its importance.  The number of roster positions is relative to the student’s acceptance of their individual roles in pursuit of the team’s goals.  While contest participation over the course of a season is desirable, a specified amount of playing time at the varsity level is never guaranteed.

        A sound attitude and advance level of skill are prerequisites for a position on a varsity team, as is the realization that a varsity sport requires a six-day-a-week commitment. This commitment is extended into vacation periods for all sport seasons.  Depending on the sport, contests, and practices are scheduled during vacation, on Sunday, and in some cases on holidays.  The dedication and commitment needed to conduct a successful varsity program must be taken seriously by all student-athletes, and coaches’ efforts need to be supported by parents.

        The varsity coach is the leader of that sports’ program and determines the system of instruction and strategy for that program.  The communication among the middle school teams, junior varsity and varsity programs is the responsibility of the varsity coach.  Preparing to win, striving for victory in each contest and working to reach the group’s and individual’s maximum potential are worthy goals of a varsity level team.

Junior Varsity Program Philosophy

        The junior varsity level is intended for those who display the potential of continued development into productive varsity level performers. Middle school students may participate at this level if they go through the Selection Classification process.  At this level, athletes are expected to have visibly committed themselves to the program, team and continued self-development.  To this end, increased emphasis is placed on physical conditioning, refinement of fundamental skills, elements and strategies of team play, in addition to socio-emotional development. 

        Junior varsity programs work towards achieving a balance between continued team and player development and striving for victory. The realization that practice sessions are important is a premise that is vital to a successful junior varsity team and player.  For all team members, meaningful contest participation will exist over the course of a season; however, a specified amount of playing time is never guaranteed.  Participants at this level are preparing themselves for the six-day-a-week commitment that is expected at the varsity level.  Practice sessions are often scheduled during school vacation and commitment is expected at the junior varsity level.

Middle School (Modified “B”) Program Philosophy

        This program is available to all students in the 7th and 8th grades.  Sport activities offered are determined by the existence of leagues, student interest, and the relationship to the high school program.  At this level, the focus is on learning athletic skills and game rules, fundamentals of team play, socio-emotional growth, physiologically appropriate demands on the adolescent body, and healthy competition. 

        At the middle school level, it is our goal to provide a well-planned and well-balanced program of interscholastic athletics for as many students as possible. Cutting of students is not our policy.  However, if the number of students trying out for a team creates a situation that is difficult to manage, poses a safety problem, or is problematic because of facility considerations, reducing team size may be necessary.  In order for the desired development of the adolescent athlete and team to occur, practice sessions are vital.  The New York State Public High School Athletic Association publishes regulations by which practice sessions are governed.  Games during any vacation/ recess are not regularly scheduled at the middle school.  However, on rare occasions practices are scheduled to ensure that students are adequately prepared to participate.  These practices are optional and scheduling of vacation/recess practices will be a decision that will be reviewed on a yearly basis.  Opportunities for meaningful contest participation within the game format (for most sports: 5-period contest format), will exist over the course of a season for student-athletes that meet their school and team responsibilities).  Coaches will determine playing time based on a variety of circumstances (abilities, leadership, commitment, attendance, opponents, game situations, practice performances etc.)

        It is possible, but very rare for a middle school level student to be included on a high school (JV or Varsity) roster.  Criteria that must be met in order to play at an advanced level include parental approval, medical approval, appropriate developmental rating, passing athletic performance test scores, the coach’s skill evaluation, and advanced degree of socio-emotional maturity as outlined by the State Education Department Selection/Classification Policy.