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January 31, 2023

‘Catz student-athletes sidelined during rainstorm

Watsonville sporting events postponed due to flooding

WATSONVILLE—Watsonville High School student-athletes were set to resume classes Monday after getting some much needed time off during the long winter break. 

However, the school has been shut down since the beginning of the week after Pajaro Valley Unified School District announced the closure of several schools on Thursday due to impacts from the ongoing storm systems.

Watsonville Athletic Director Marcus Northcutt announced that the Wildcatz’ boys soccer game on Monday against Soledad High was called off.

Watsonville was supposed to originally play at Soledad High but the grass field was extremely muddy. 

The game was switched to Watsonville High, yet they had to close the school due to the flood warnings.

“I would imagine from the students’ point of view, the first day was probably kind of cool, the idea of not having school,” Northcutt said. “But now, especially people that are in mid-season, it’s getting to a point where you want to get back to your sport.” 

The boys and girls soccer games against Salinas on Wednesday were also postponed. Both games will be made-up Thursday.

The ‘Catz’ boys basketball game against St. Francis on Tuesday was postponed and will be made-up on Jan. 23. 

The girls’ varsity basketball team had Wednesday’s league game against Salinas postponed, while the girls’ freshman game at Monterey on Tuesday was also delayed. Both games will be made up later in the season. 

Northcutt said they’ve just been sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to hear what PVUSD decides for the next day. 

“Now they’re going day by day,” he said.  

Northcutt will typically get an email in the evening alerting the public which schools remain closed and which ones will be open.

At this time last year, the school was still dealing with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Northcutt said the floods are a little different because the virus affected the whole world and it was much scarier.

“Not saying that people aren’t getting injured and/or dying,” said Northcutt, relating to the statewide floods. “This is more physical stuff, it has a different feeling.” 

Northcutt—who coaches the boys’ varsity basketball team—mentioned that the freshman team head coach lost his car during the first storm and had to move his family into his aunt’s house. 

“Even then, they’re still in good spirits, they’re OK,” Northcutt said. “[During] Covid, people were freaked out. This one is serious but it feels more like a nuisance.” 

Northcutt talked to people within the district that weren’t sure if they had to evacuate, which he hasn’t had to do and is just dealing with the weather.

Now he’ll play the waiting game, especially with reports of the Salinas River possibly overflowing. 

Northcutt said student-athletes are not allowed to meet at the moment unless they have a game scheduled. 

“The whole objective is the fact that it’s kind of unsafe to travel,” he said. “If you can leave your house, try to do it as least as possible. Also, keep the roads open for first responders. There could be some of the players that are dealing with the flood, first hand.” 

In the meantime, Northcutt uses an app to communicate with students to let them know he’s there to assist in any way possible. 

“Making sure they know that I haven’t forgotten about them, make sure everybody’s OK,” he said. “I could have more connections than they do with the district if there was something that they needed.”

Northcutt said he wholeheartedly trusts and respects the work done by PVUSD and administrators, who have been communicating with the athletic director. 

The school district will send emails every other day to remind staff where to get relief and have given them extended days off if they had to evacuate.

“I’m in the loop, I know what’s going on and I know how things are being determined,” Northcutt said. “I just feel good about how supportive the school and the district have been.”

Juan Reyes
A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.

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