The first official City Cup in 2019 came down to the final events of the girls outdoor track meet with Stamford edging Westhill by winning the final two events of the day.
The excitement of that first season of the Cup spilled over and continued to build in to the 2019-20 seasons.
However, like the rest of the sporting world the City Cup was put on hold last winter when the world paused for COVID-19.
With no spring season, there was no winner of the Cup.
The competition started back up this fall and will continue Saturday when the boys and girls basketball teams from each school face off.
However, the momentum built through last winter has been slow to return with no fans allowed at games, students in the school for limited time due to distance learning and the constant fear games will be canceled and teams put on pause at a moment’s notice.
“I think it’s subdued,” Stamford athletic director Chris Passamano said. “I think because nobody knows if there will be a season tomorrow. There’s a lot of uncertainty. There hasn’t been a big focus on the Cup this year.”
The City Cup was created prior to the 2018-19 school year with the Black Knights and Vikings meeting in each sport through the fall, winter and spring seasons, the winning school would earn a point for each game won.
Westhill leads through the fall 4-1-1, picking up wins in boys soccer, 7-on-7 football, boys cross country and girls cross country and Stamford getting a win in girls soccer with field hockey tying.
Since the teams played multiple times in the regionalized fall schedules, the first meeting of each fall sport counted toward the Cup.
Saturday, the only two points of this winter season will be awarded in boys and girls basketball.
Stamford and Westhill co-op in hockey and swimming, and wrestling is canceled.
Unlike years past where the boys and girls basketball teams would play a double header on the Saturday of Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, this year the girls will play at Stamford at 2:15 p.m. and the boys will tip off at Westhill at 4:30.
The basketball teams will still play for the newly named Jack Bryant Memorial Trophy, named after Jack Bryant who died at the age of 63 in April after contracting the coronavirus.
Bryant, a Westhill graduate, Stamford Board of Education member and former President of the Stamford NAACP, helped create the Stamford NAACP/MLK Basketball Classic featuring an annual triple header of basketball with Stamford going against Westhill in girls, boys and unified sports the Saturday of MLK weekend.
This is also the first year Westhill and Stamford will be the only schools competing for the city championship in both boys and girls basketball after Trinity Catholic closed last spring.
Westhill athletic director Dick Cerone said while there has not been much excitement for the Cup, he hopes the basketball games Saturday and hopefully a full spring season will spark renewed interest.
“They have not been talking about it lately but it matters to the kids,” Cerone said. “I think once we play basketball, the kids will start to get juiced about it again. Without Trinity, this is now the city championship too and winning any city game is important to the kids any year.”
Another thing that will help get students pumped about the City Cup is that an actual City Cup trophy is currently being made with the hope being it will be in Stamford by the spring.
“The kids will be excited to see that thing,” Cerone said. “It’s going to be like their Stanley Cup. It’s really cool looking.”