WATSONVILLE—Flood watch warnings and harsh weather conditions put a halt to some of Wednesday’s local prep sporting events.
Pajaro Valley and St. Francis high schools both announced that seven games were postponed amidst a potent storm system that continues to impact the region.
Pajaro Valley High Athletic Director Joe Manfre said the decision to postpone all athletic events—games and practices—came from Pajaro Valley Unified School District, which wanted to keep the kids safe and stay at home.
“If kids have to evacuate, they want them to be there and not at the sporting event or practice,” Manfre said. “They were just being cautious.”
A massive rainstorm brought flooding to several parts in the city of Watsonville that forced residents to evacuate their homes.
St. Francis High Athletic Director John Ausman mentioned they were concerned with having a bus full of kids or fans stuck on campus in case the rainstorm quickly escalates like it did last week.
The school had a conversation that started Wednesday and went into Thursday morning, talking about evacuation orders and what happened in last weekend’s floods.
“Everyone was there last weekend and saw the damage that was done,” Ausman said.
St. Francis sports programs held practices on campus last week. But the students and coaches drove through East Lake Avenue and Holohan Road where they saw the damage on nearby College Road.
There are several student-athletes who live east of East Lake Avenue, which was an area that was impacted heavily with the floods.
“Those kids were talking about how they were getting their houses ready…getting their houses ready with sandbags and all that,” Ausman said. “I don’t think it was lost on anyone, the significance of the weather and what could happen, and how we didn’t want to put anyone in harm’s way.”
The National Weather Service website announced Tuesday that the storm system associated with the atmospheric river will bring substantial rainfall to the Central Coast on top of already saturated soils.
The flood watch was expected to remain in effect through Thursday afternoon.
The St. Francis girls’ basketball team had Wednesday’s non-league contest against Gilroy canceled and will most likely not be made up.
However, the Sharks boys’ basketball team was supposed to begin Pacific Coast Athletic League Cypress Division play against Rancho San Juan High.
St. Francis’ girls soccer team was scheduled to take on Stevenson in their league opener but was called off.
Monte Vista Christian and North Monterey County had their Cypress Division boys soccer match postponed until further notice.
The Mustangs wrestling team also wasn’t able to compete in their league meet at Alisal High, and the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League postponed a wrestling league meet at Harbor High School.
Pajaro Valley was set to host its first PCAL league wrestling meet in three years and the boys’ basketball team opted not to travel to Monterey to play York School.
Manfre also spoke with girls basketball coach Mark Harris, who was supposed to take the Grizzlies to play at Rancho San Juan High in Salinas.
“[Harris] was kind of worried about going over there tonight, too,” Manfre said. “When I told him that it wasn’t happening he was kind of relieved.”
Both schools and any others affected by the weather will have some wiggle room to reschedule league games with the possibility of playing on a Saturday.
“Kids are just going to get an extra competition next week and that is the way it is,” Ausman said.
Manfre hopes they don’t have to postpone more than one league game and they’ll see what kind of damage is done so they can go from there.
Manfre was in the process of rescheduling games with PCAL Commissioner Tim McCarthy and Greenfield Athletic Director John Radcliff, who handles the scheduling for all the sports within the league.
“We’re going to run into some issues if tomorrow and Friday get canceled because that’s a lot of games to reschedule,” Manfre said.
Ausman said he just finds it interesting that about this same time a year ago they were all dealing with another outbreak of Covid-19.
“It’s just another thing,” he said. “The resiliency of our young people, they’ve gone through a lot over the last couple of years.”
school officials ALWAYS must err on the side of safety when there is a widespread flood watch.