Bears News · Royalton Recorder: Phase III Begins, Numbers up for NRHS Fall Sports


We are now into Phase III of opening up the North Royalton High School Athletic Program. Phase III began on July 6and will continue until August 1. During Phase III, sports that will be added to mix will be Cross Country, Girls Tennis and Girls Basketball.

Among the sports that have been going through training in Phases I and II are Volleyball, Football, Boys Basketball, Golf (At the Golf Course), Boys and Girls Soccer and Wrestling. Probably the biggest change in Phase III is that there can be 50 athletes/ coaches working together at any one time, both inside and outside.

Athletes must remember to bring their own water bottles and wear face masks both into and out of all athletic facilities. The Athletic Department reminds athletes not to gather in or around facilities or parking lots. “While it’s great to see our kids and coaches, it’s troublesome because we are still in a pandemic situation. The safety of everyone has, and always will be, first,” said Athletic Director Bo Kuntz.

We’re now a little less than two months away from what will hopefully be the beginning of the fall sports season at North Royalton High School.

Numbers are up for a majority of sports that will be played in the fall. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, more boys and girls from NRHS are turning out for conditioning than last year.

Here are some examples. In football, Head Coach Nick Ciulli has “80-plus” kids signed up to play on the gridiron. Last year, the Bears had a turnout of around 70. “I’m not saying no to anybody who wants to come out,” said Coach Ciulli. Included in those numbers are 30 freshmen. It’s the largest turnout for North Royalton Football in 4- to-5 years. Coach Ciulli feels some of the additional players may ‘just want to go out and do something’ following months of being forced to stay at-home.

In Boys Soccer, Head Coach Joe Valeriano said 60 kids have signed up to play soccer. “We have between 40-to-44 players that are participating in workouts. Some miss workouts because of their jobs, family vacations or they’re playing for their club teams,” said Coach Valeriano. “Because the number of participants is under 50, everyone can workout on the same field. There was some rust on the players that first week. By the second week, you could see their fitness returning.”

In Girls Golf, Coach Don Filips said he has 20 young ladies out for the team. In 2019, the turnout was in the low-to-mid teens. Coach Filips said their “Big Sis – Little Sis” program helps their athletes to look out for each other during trying times.

In Girls Soccer, Head Coach Jason Rutkowski said his numbers are right around 50 players. Last year, the girls’ soccer team, had 40 players. Coach Rutkowski believes the reason for the hike is the North Royalton Youth Soccer Program. “Actually, I saw this coming back in November (2019). That’s when I asked for another coach and a third team. The Youth Program is doing a great job.”

Finally, in Boys Golf, Head Golf Coach Steve Sprunger said his numbers have increased too. Last year, 12 players were on the team. This year, Coach Sprunger is looking for his roster to be in the teens. ‘Since we are not in our practice routine, our guys are working on their games on their own” said Coach Sprunger.

By Joe Jastrzemski
Contributing Writer for the Royalton Recorder
Posted July 9th, 2020