It was a cutdown week at Marysville High School pertaining to its high school sports schedule due to the ongoing public health threat surrounding COVID-19.
Marysville Athletic Director David Chiono said recent state guidelines and priorities from the Sac-Joaquin Section commissioner have made it necessary to trim its athletic schedule down to the most realistic options.
With Yuba County still in the purple, most restrictive tier for the foreseeable future, Chiono and his administration said it was time to make some tough decisions about what could be offered this year.
Football is not an option at Marysville right now, he said.
“We did not feel (we) would get to the level to play a competitive schedule without destroying other spring sports,” Chiono said.
Athletes are only permitted to gather with one sports team, and if anybody transitions to another sport the player would need to quarantine for two weeks before beginning practice.
With Marysville at an enrollment of about 1,000, it makes it tough on the school and coaches to find enough available athletes to field every team.
The priority, with the section and schools, is to have spring sports happen in 2021.
“That was a priority for the (commissioner),” Chiono said.
Baseball, softball and the spring season are allowed to open competition once the schools’ counties fall into the red tier.
According to California’s reopening framework, a county cannot move to a less restrictive tier until it has met certain requirements. For the red tier that means anywhere from four to seven new cases a day per 100,000 residents and a test positivity rate between 5 and 8 percent. Orange tier, where football is slated, requires no more than four cases daily per 100,000, while yellow is less than one.
On Friday, Yuba-Sutter had 49 new cases of COVID-19, according to the daily dashboard.
Right now, Chiono remains hopeful that Yuba County will drop into the red tier in time for baseball and softball season, which is set to begin at some point in March.
“We’re working on schedules,” he said.
Marysville and Lindhurst will both be in an independent league due to restrictions to where teams can only play other schools in the same county or a neighboring county.
Chiono said for baseball he has games scheduled against Wheatland, Lindhurst, Gridley, Live Oak, Sutter and East Nicolaus.
“We’re trying to get 25 games as opposed to 28 (in a normal year),” Chiono said.
Other sports that Marysville elected to not participate in this year because of the pandemic were boys and girls volleyball, boys and girls basketball, wrestling and cheerleading.
Boys and girls soccer, an orange tier sport, will not be scheduled until the county falls into red, Chiono said.
“It is my personal feeling that it would be unfair of Marysville High School to give hope to the yellow and indoor orange tier sports that they will have a season that realistically does not have much of a chance,” he said.
For football players who play multiple sports, that means athletes can safely move on and get ready for at least some competition this year.
“Best case in football (was) five games,” said Marysville football coach Jeff Freeman. “(So) after we came back in January with the new tier (system) and guidelines parents and players started seeing the writing on the wall. Either we could have three-quarters to a full season for spring sports or a couple games in football.”
While Lindhurst has yet to formally cancel football, Athletic Director Bob Jensen said the chances of playing the school’s premier sport are slim.
“I am scheduling as many local teams as I can (with) spring sports first,” he said. “I don’t know if we will get past that.”
He’s also working to get a cross country competition scheduled – a sport allowed to take place right now.
“For us a big issue is getting the kids to practice, they have no transportation to the school,” Jensen said. “A significant part of our population takes the freeway to get here.”