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July 3, 2020

HS Sports: Spring season put on hold due to COVID-19 concerns

The local sports world came to a sudden halt last week. Prep and college athletics took a seat due to rising concerns of the COVID-19 virus.

Travis Fox, athletic director at Aptos High, said all athletic activities including games, practices and anything considered an organized team activity are postponed.

“You feel bad for all the kids but especially for the senior group who hopefully we can salvage something,” Fox said. “There’s a lot out of our control in the athletic realm and we’re just trying to control what we can and hope that as soon as we’re allowed to go we’ll pick back up.” 

Central Coast Section Commissioner Duane Morgan on Wednesday sent a letter to all the athletic directors of schools in the area.

He mentioned they’re still planning for the spring sports postseason and other CCS programs such as the scholar athlete program. 

Morgan said they’re taking a positive proactive stance in preparation for the upcoming playoffs with the possibility of modifying each sport once there’s a clearer picture. 

“We will get through this and hopefully be able to provide positive educational and extra-curricular experiences for our students to close out the school year,” Morgan said. 

Morgan said the CCS Office is officially closed and the staff is working remotely from home.

On Tuesday, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State Office and the 10 Section Commissioners–including the CCS–held their annual scheduled spring meeting. 

CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti said they have not determined the future of spring sports events at this time and they plan to reconvene April 3 to revisit the issue. 

“While the time may come when we have to cancel post-season events, today is not that day,” Nocetti said.

The CIF Federated Council Meeting scheduled for April 3 was postponed and it will be rescheduled no earlier than May 8 via teleconference.

Fox said they have been encouraging to coach remotely and provide workouts but nothing is mandatory.

There are roughly 75 coaches and volunteers who help run the athletics department.

“Obviously a track workout is a whole lot easier to give remotely than a volleyball or baseball [workout] but in this first week that’s how we’re trying to navigate through it,” he said. 

Ben Akiyama, interim athletic director at Watsonville High, said the situation changed in a matter of hours. One minute he was telling coaches and players the season was moving forward but the next minute it was suspended.

“At one point the Wildcat Relays were on and then all of a sudden they were off,” he said. “It was just hard to keep up with all the changes.”

Fox said the situation is bigger than sports. 

The Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees in an emergency meeting Saturday unanimously approved a plan to close all district schools for two weeks.

Fox said the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League has discussed what a shortened season would look like but nothing is set in stone, yet.

He said the hope is if the schools are allowed back in session, athletics will also resume.

“We’re just trying to remain positive and optimistic and support the kids as much as we can, especially for the seniors,” Fox said. “This stinks that some of them don’t get that chance that they’ve been waiting for.”

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Editor’s Note: This article will be published in the March 20 edition of The Pajaronian.


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