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Tioga County Sports Report
CANDOR — Candor three-sport athlete and rising junior Shelby Swartz has been selected to be one of two Section IV representatives on the New York State Public High School Athletic Association 2020-21 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Each year, NYSPHSAA picks 11 juniors to serve on the committee, one from each of the state's 11 sections. Representatives serve for two academic years, joining 11 seniors who were selected the previous year. Swartz will join senior Gavin Bonczkowski of Gilbertsville-Mount Upton Jr./Sr. High School, the other Section IV rep.

Swartz decided to apply for a position on the committee on the advice of her father, Mike, the Indians' JV volleyball coach. She said he jokingly suggested she apply — and she did.

"I honestly didn't think I was going to get it," she said. "I just applied to see what happened, and then I got an email a few weeks later that said I was selected, so that was pretty cool."

“It’s always exciting to welcome the new members and the returning members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee," said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director, in a NYSPHSAA press release. “Hearing from students directly about issues they face and using their input to try and help bridge the gap between students and adults is key to our associations growth. We congratulate the members of the SAAC on their selection to this committee and look forward to their ideas and contributions during the upcoming school year.”

This year, the committee will continue to promote the NYSPHSAA Mental Health Awareness Week. In addition, the SAAC will continue to provide feedback on Executive and Central Committee proposals. 

During the 2019-20 school year, the committee continued to promote the mental health initiative and focused additional efforts on student-athletes mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The SAAC also provided input in the expansion of NYSPHSAA Coaches Appreciation Day and Officials Appreciation Day. Members also presented a statement against teen vaping to the NYSPHSAA Safety Committee which will be discussed further this fall.  

"I think we will be talking about things we can do for our student-athletes in each of our sections and the state overall," Swartz said. "I think there's summits we have to go to. They're going to be virtual."

With COVID-19 changing so many peoples' lifestyles, Swartz is hoping some of her time on SAAC can be used to address pandemic-related issues which affect student-athletes.

"One of the reasons I applied was that I want to help student athletes and focus on their mental health during this time because of seasons getting pushed back and canceled," she said. "I want to help find a way to make this time easier for them and to help them get through it."

Even though COVID-19 has eliminated in-person contact among the committee members, Swartz is hoping to receive a valuable and educational experience through SAAC's video conferences.

"I think for me personally, it will be good for a leadership role and learning to communicate with new people and working with them successfully," she said. "And I think it will be really good for exposure with new people going into college so I know how to work with them and make it successful for everyone."

The SAAC will meet four times via video conference during the school year, according to the press release. The first meeting will take place Sunday, Sept. 20. 

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