Pushed back
Cross-country athletes have begun conditioning in hopes of once again running in a pack toward their high school competition goals. Review file photo

After months of speculation, coaches, parents and students finally received word from the Central Coast Section this week that high school sports would be delayed months after school resumes.

Unless novel coronavirus spread makes it impossible, practice for cross-country, water polo, volleyball and football will begin on Dec. 14, with the first day of competition beginning Dec. 28. Football is slated to begin on Jan. 8 next year. The decision from CCS came shortly after the California Interscholastic Federation moved key playoff dates for each of the state’s 10 sections, with most fall sports beginning playoffs in March 2021.

Half Moon Bay High School girls’ varsity basketball coach Antonio Veloso agrees with CIF’s decision to delay fall sports as it prioritizes safety for coaches and students.

“Over the last few months, we’ve been sitting here wondering when and now we have a time,” Veloso said.

But Veloso and other coaches believe some of the other changes the CIF made to its bylaws could be problematic. Specifically, the suspension of bylaws 600‐605 allows students to play in private club leagues at the same time as high school sports. The postponement could also complicate life for student-athletes who want to play multiple sports. For example, a boy at Half Moon Bay High School may have to decide between basketball and football. Or a girl on the cross-country team will get very little rest before track season begins in late March.

“As a parent, you have to choose, and your kid has to choose,” Veloso said of the changes. “And you’re being told different things. I think that’s a bigger difficulty.”

Cross-country meets won’t start until Dec. 28, meaning the athletes will have had nearly a full year away from the sport. Head coach Paul Farnsworth said the backed-up schedule was the right call for safety precautions but could create issues down the road for duel-sport athletes.

“I’ve got kids who run cross-country, play basketball and run track,” he said. “Now, they’re going to have to pick between basketball and track.”

Coaches say a postponed season may be better than no season at all. More than a dozen runners are showing up to physically-distanced summer cross-country conditioning at the high school.

“Postponing is one thing,” Farnsworth said, “Cancelling a season outright, like what happened in the spring, was heartbreaking for a lot of people. It was necessary, but a bummer. Postponing will at lease salvage the participation and activity.”

The girls varsity volleyball team had been staying active with Zoom workouts through Empowered Fitness, according to head coach Ryan Havice. Now that the new schedule has been announced, they won’t be practicing as a team for a while.

“Our volleyball community will brainstorm new ways to keep our local kids engaged and in shape in preparation for an eventual return to play,” Havice wrote in an email. “I am going to keep my fingers crossed that we see a state and nationwide adherence to strict (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines and recommendations in order to get this terrible virus under control.”

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