High school athletic competitions in the Yuba-Sutter-Colusa region are slowly returning with the first confirmed contest on the schedule starting today (Wednesday, Feb. 3).
Sutter High athletic director Rick Giovannoni confirmed that the Huskies cross country teams will be traveling to Colusa-Sacramento River state recreation area for a nonleague dual meet race – the first prep competition in nearly a year.
Giovannoni said all state and county COVID-19 guidelines will be followed by everyone involved in the race.
Giovannoni said there will be four staggered races beginning at 2:30 p.m. and each of the athletes will have to masked up until racing begins.
He said overall it’s a good first step toward the reopening of high school athletics.
“We’re optimistic,” he said. “More than anything it’s about getting the kids an opportunity to do something and enjoy something. We’re excited about it because of that.”
Both the Sac-Joaquin and Northern Section released statements on Monday, January 25 permitting the return of high school athletes under the county tier system.
“The Northern Section California Interscholastic Executive Committee decided at their meeting (last week) to allow schools to schedule competitions in any sport as long as they align with the California Department of Public Health colored tier system, county public health guidelines, and local district administration guidelines,” the section wrote.
Right now, sports competitions permitted to reopen are the ones in the purple tier, which is cross country (track and field), golf, swimming, tennis and skiing/snowboarding.
The next reopening phase is red tier athletics, which are baseball, softball and field hockey. The last two tiers include orange, which is football, soccer and volleyball, followed by yellow (basketball, wrestling and competitive cheerleading).
Following the reopening of regional stay-at-home orders in California on Monday, a cross country scrimmage in El Dorado County took place at Union Mine High School between Oak Ridge, El Dorado, Bradshaw Christian, Golden Sierra and the host Diamondbacks, according to an SJS tweet Monday.
SJS said in a statement that “ we are advising our schools to play when you are able to via state and county guidelines, and play who you can.”
According to the SJS, a traditional fall sports postseason is eliminated.
“We are reserving the final week of the season for a potential ‘bowl game,’” SJS said in a statement Monday.
Giovannoni said it’s a league only schedule for all sports in the purple and red tier.
Colusa athletic director Eric Lay said the team’s home course provides enough social distancing for the runners and spectators.
“We’re OK,” he said. “Our course is pretty wide and the Sutter one is wide open. We’re trying to schedule Sutter again (in a home-and-home).
In league, Colusa will compete against Pierce, Williams and Winters in dual meets. Lay said there is about a 5 or six-week window for cross country under the modified schedule.
While there is no section postseason this year, Lay said he is working with league representatives to create a makeshift county cup in every sport for some finality.