Southampton boy allowed to play field hockey

May 15, 2012 2:21:42 PM PDT
The smile on 8th grader Keeling Pilaro's face couldn't get any bigger.

"I've been texting all my friends on the team," he said.

He's talking about the girls on the Southampton high school varsity field hockey team.

For a while there it wasn't certain that he would be able to play with them next year after two years on the team. The local chapter of the State Public High School Athletic Association said his superior skills had a quote significant adverse effect on the girls.

Pilaro was one of the top scorers in the league last season.

The committee met on Tuesday and Pilaro testified. In the end, the association decided his presence was not harmful to the girls.

"He will play this coming season and if he becomes so proficient it will be looked again next year for the following season," Kevin seaman, Section XI, said.

We weren't allowed inside the meeting, but Pilaro's supporters told us they argued that he's not the best player on the team and that he motivates the girls on the team to play better.

"He pushes them to be better they push him to be better like any team any member regardless of gender," coach Kim Hannigan said.

So it was off to a big celebration at a local restaurant for Keeling, his four brothers and their mom.

"I think he's had a really positive impact and I hope he continues to do so in the fall," his mom, Fairley Pilaro, said.

"I'm so excited I get to play one more year," he said.

Keeling says he learned the game growing up in Ireland. His family moved back to New York two years ago.

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