The Chop Point soccer team competes against Morse during a 2019 game at McMann Field in Bath. Photo provided by Chop Point School

WOOLWICH — Chop Point School is one of the smallest high schools in the state, with an average graduating class size of 12. Situated in a small town with a population just over 3,000, Chop Point has been able to maintain in-person learning and offered fall athletics during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Because of our small class sizes partnered with our facility space, we could accommodate the guidelines asked of us and still provide a full on-campus program,” said school principal Josh Bailey.

Chop Point, which was founded in 1967 as a camp before a school was added 20 years later in 1987, sits along the Kennebec River off Route 128.

The school, which has followed COVID-19 safety guidelines set forth by the state, offers two varsity sports, soccer and basketball. The Blue Bears have a co-ed soccer program, which typically competes in the Maine Principals’ Association Class D South conference. The schedule was changed this year due to the ongoing pandemic.

Chop Point had hoped to offer boys and girls varsity basketball this winter, but its conference — the Maine Christian School Sports League — canceled winter sports. The MCSSL, which operates independently from the MPA, has five teams in the boys and girls division — Central Maine Christian Academy in Lewiston, Living Waters Christian School in Buxton, Ossipee Valley Christian School in Cornish, Penobscot Christian School in Bangor, and Chop Point.

The soccer team played eight games this fall against just two schools — Greater Portland Christian School in South Portland and Temple Academy in Waterville.

Athletic director Mark Jones said the pandemic forced him to take a day-by-day approach with scheduling contests.

“I have a good relationship with the other athletic directors, which made it easier to construct a schedule that would work for all parties,” athletic director Mark Jones said. “Everyone involved was very accommodating to ensure we followed guidelines while giving the students an opportunity to compete against a different school.”

The Temple Academy and Chop Point soccer teams compete during the 2019 season. Photo provided by Chop Point School

Despite playing an abbreviated season, the soccer team had two players earn Southern Maine Class D Boys Southern Regional All-Star Team honors in senior Noah Wilkerson and junior Josie Harrington.

Harrington is one of several girls who played on the co-ed team, which plays in the boys division.

“Overall, we had a fairly successful season on and off the field,” said Harrington. “I think we improved and grew together as a team.”

After her all-star campaign, Harrington and the Blue Bears are looking to improve next season.

“We just want to continue to improve our play and have fun while doing it,” she said. “I want to push myself to be an all-around better teammate and athlete.”

Harrington and her teammates were just happy to be able to have somewhat of a season, something Jones said was important to him and the school community.

“Our biggest priority continued to be the health and safety of our students and faculty, but we also recognized the important of athletics to our students and community,” Jones said. “Our leadership team helped guide us to have success on that front.”

Following the Department of Education and MPA guidelines regarding transportation and spectators, Chop Point worked with Temple Academy and Greater Portland Christian School to have a season.

Jones said student-athletes were disappointed there wouldn’t be a basketball season this winter, but added the decision was widely anticipated.

“With our priority to maintain the health and safety of our students and faculty, we weren’t expecting to have a basketball season this year,” said Jones. “We will continue our methods to keep our students safe and healthy while preparing for the next athletic season here at Chop Point.”

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