Ohio HS Forfeits Girls' Basketball Game Over Safety Concerns After Train Derailment

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Bristol High School in Bristolville, Ohio, forfeited its February 16 varsity girls' basketball game at East Palestine over safety concerns following a recent train derailment that led to a toxic spill of chemicals in the town. 

Bristol superintendent Chris Dray told 21 Sports that parents of the Bristol team voiced concerns about playing in East Palestine over health concerns following the derailment. 

"Some parents expressed concern about going there," said Dray who added he's been in contact with East Palestine school officials for more than a week.

Bristol had appealed to the Northeast Ohio District Athletic Board to ask that the game be played at a neutral site, but that request was denied. The district then went to the Ohio High School Athletic Association, which also denied the request. 

The state high school association has already given the green light for East Palestine to host games, and they have already held two middle school games. 

"All the ratings and data we were receiving were below the EPA accepted marks. Our student athletes will continue to practice and play in East Palestine," said Dwayne Pavkovich, Athletic Director and Assistant Superintendent for East Palestine City Schools. "We don't have any concerns."

Dray said his administration was concerned they wouldn't be able to field a team based on the feedback they were getting from parents. 

"There's a lot of opinions about what's going on here in East Palestine," Pavkovich added. "I wouldn't have any reservations about my son participating here in East Palestine but I do understand the concerns of parents."

Bristol was the No. 15 seed and East Palestine the No. 9 seed. Because the game wasn't played Thursday, East Palestine advances to the second round of the tournament.

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