WIAA sports: When does spring come before winter?

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Winter and spring sports have swapped places in the latest iteration of the WIAA high school sports calendar.

With the pathway to high-risk indoor sports most complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the WIAA voted Tuesday to move the traditional winter sports, such as wrestling and basketball, to season 3 in order to give those sports more runway.

All major spring sports, except for water polo, are played outdoors, and the WIAA used this rationale as well to move them up.

“Based on the risk levels assigned to traditional winter activities compared to traditional spring activities, the executive board made the decision that those spring activities will have the opportunity to play much earlier than winter activities,” WIAA executive director Mick Hoffman said. “The board will continue to monitor the status of activities over the coming months to ensure that those traditional spring sports receive a chance to participate.”

The WIAA also set new dates for seasons 2 and 3. Season 2 will begin with pre-contest practices March 15 and finish up May 1. Season 3 will begin April 26 and end June 12.

Leagues are free to set their own schedule in the manner they feel is best for their communities. Thus far, the Olympic League, which added Bainbridge Island to its roster this week, has not broken away from the WIAA schedule.

Pre-competition practices for season 1 are set to begin Feb. 1 and the season will run through March 20. With the exception of low-risk outdoor sports, such as cross country, contests and meets cannot take place until the Northwest region — which consists of Kitsap, Mason, Clallam and Jefferson counties — moves to phase 2 in the state’s new reopening plan.

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