The turn of the calendar to 2021 hasn’t changed the fact that high school sports in California remains in limbo due to the ongoing public health crisis surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a glimmer of hope that prep sports will begin at some point this year.
We reached out to coaches and administrators to find out the status of prep sports in the Yuba-Sutter-Colusa region.
Cheri Azevedo, Williams junior varsity girls volleyball coach
Q: What do the state guidelines mean for prep sports?
A: Colusa County currently sits in the purple tier, along with surrounding counties. As the JV volleyball coach for Williams High School, this means we are not allowed to start our sport until we reach the orange tier. These athletes have suffered enough loss already and it seems that we will be waiting even longer to get back on the court. It’s very frustrating to keep changing the possible start date for these kids. Other states have had opportunities for high school sports but California has not. Our Governor needs to see the bigger picture here and really look at the damage he is causing these kids.
Q: How can volleyball be played in a pandemic?
A: Indoor sports such as volleyball could easily be managed for play by making some easy rules. Masks, six feet apart and cutting down the amount of people allowed as spectators. I just want these girls to have some sort of season and not lose out on more than they already have,
David Chiono, Marysville High School Athletic Director
Q: What are teams allowed to do right now under the guidelines?
A: We can condition for any sport who wants to do it (but only one). It’s important for our kids to be active (so) we’re encouraging our teams to conditioning outdoors in position groups (for football) instead of pods because that was a change by the health department.
The varsity football team of 30 splits up during the weight room, with 15 players doing cardio and the other 15 lifting. Then on the field there is an offensive linemen group, quarterbacks/receivers group, etc. We’re not exchanging equipment and there’s no contact allowed at the moment.
Q: What teams can compete against other schools in the purple tier?
A: Cross country and boys and girls golf is all we can do in the purple tier. At this point we’re not doing that because there is no clarity on scheduling. The (Pioneer Valley League) can’t play any Sacramento schools because they’re not a bordering county.
Mick Pettengill, Yuba College head football coach
Q: Will Yuba College play football next fall?
A: I think we’re going to play because the administration is supportive and wants to continue it. They are committed to having a season.
Q: Will any programs be dropped?
A: If junior colleges start dropping programs I think we’re doing a disservice to the community. I haven’t met anybody who hasn’t enjoyed their time here. It’s a great value for the money you spend, then you move on.
Stewart Peterson, Sutter High School head baseball coach
Q: Under the Northern Section COVID-19 plan for reopening what can you do right now?
A: We’re cleared to practice and do things on our field. Baseball can’t play any games till the county is in the red tier. Under the NSCIF plan our season is supposed to begin March 29 as of right now.
Q: Is baseball able to be played in a pandemic?
A: Baseball by nature is a pretty socially distant sport. We had a club team in the summer and fall with no COVID issues. We’re spread out in the dugout and don’t shake hands. We’re not within six feet of another person very often.
Dave Rodrigeuz, Yuba City High School baseball coach
Q: When does baseball conditioning begin under the Sac-Joaquin Section plan?
A: Baseball conditioning is supposed to start Jan. 11 so we’re making plans for what we’re supposed to do. Yuba-Sutter Counties have to be in the red tier by March 8 in order to play games. Right now we have a 28-game schedule to run three weeks after graduation.
Q: How will away games be configured?
A: Buses are not available this year so we’re getting (others) to drive. Yuba City and River Valley are the furthest north in the Capital Valley Conference so we have the furthest to go at each away game.