PREPS: Fall seasons officially pushed to spring 2021

Cross country, boys tennis join girls swim and dive in season 3

West Central District 3 athletic administrators have pushed all fall sports across all enrollment levels to spring, area athletic directors confirmed after a virtual meeting last week.

The decision came in response to earlier season planning efforts made by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Board.

As positive coronavirus cases increased statewide, the WIAA executive board released a modified sports calendar that pushed football, volleyball and girls soccer to March.

A week later, the WIAA moved girls swimming and diving to March (Season 3 under the 2020-21 WIAA calendar) and made it possible to hold cross country, golf and tennis in either fall or spring.

In the interim, many West Central School Districts, including most in Kitsap County and North Mason, have decided to begin the school year virtually after receiving guidance from county health officials and Gov. Jay Inslee’s office.

Recently, Inslee said schools in the majority of Washington’s counties should strongly consider online-only learning for students this fall due to COVID-19 and canceling or postponing sports and all other in-person extracurricular activities.

“With the Kitsap schools all making the decision to not offer sports while the students were kept at home for distance learning, the rest of the [Olympic] League followed suit,” Sequim athletic director and coach Dave Ditlefsen said.

The West Central District covers a wide swath of the western portion of the state with schools in Kitsap, King, Pierce, Thurston, Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Bainbridge High School, a participant in the Metro League, which is in District 2, is not covered by this decision. However, as reported in the Seattle Times earlier this month, the Metro, NPSL and KingCo Conferences have pushed the remaining fall sports off to spring as well.

The inability to resume in-person classroom instruction is likely to continue to delay the return of prep sports.

“That was a common thread in the conversation between WCD presidents inside the meeting, but again that is a local decision by each school board,” Johnson said.

The earliest competition would happen for area schools would be when the traditional winter sports — boys and girls basketball, wrestling, boys swimming and diving and gymnastics — start practices Dec. 28.

Now instead of competing over a span of a nine-month school year, the sports calendar has been condensed to six months, leading to concerns for multisport athletes.

The WIAA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee is expected to address this issue and possibly reset the required number of practices needed before beginning a season.

The WIAA executive board is meeting Tuesday, and they will discuss multisport athletes transitioning from one season to the next. The current rule is they are allowed five waived practices if they are in a state championship the season before. “This is a legal question, that 10 pre-contest practice ruling,” Johnson said.

Kitsap News Group reporter Mark Krulish contributed to this report.