News

Keeling Pilaro, Long Island’s Only Male Field Hockey Player, Can Continue To Play

Keeling Pilaro (credit: Handout via Mona Rivera / 1010 WINS)

Keeling Pilaro (credit: Handout via Mona Rivera / 1010 WINS)

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) - It’s good news for one field hockey player on Long Island.

A panel of 30-or-so Suffolk County school personnel decided Tuesday that Keeling Pilaro, 14, could continue to play field hockey on an all-girls varsity field hockey team.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell Hears From Pilaro’s Mom

“I’m just so excited that I can play with pretty much my family for one more year,” Pilaro told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria.

1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports

Pilaro, his mom Fairley and his coach attended a contentious hearing in Smithtown this morning.

Athletic officials in Suffolk County removed Pilaro, who is 4’8″ and weighs 82 pounds, from play because they said he dominated on the field of otherwise female players.

“There are no other boys teams out here on Long Island, so that’s why I’m choosing to play with the girls,” Pilaro told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan. “I grew up playing it all my life. I used to play with all my friends back in Ireland and that was just great.”

In the U.S., field hockey is a girl’s sport at the high school level, but according to New York’s mixed competition guidelines, boys are allowed to play as long as they dont adversely affect the girls, McLogan reported.

The initial ruling banned Pilaro from further play because he was deemed too skilled. He received all conference honors and scored 21 points–11th best on Long Island, McLogan reported.

Earlier, Fairley said her son was being discriminated against. “I will fight for my son. I will fight for him so that he’s able to participate in a sport that he is very passionate about,” she told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.

Do you agree with the board’s decision allowing Pilaro to play? Sound off in the comments section below.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)