The 4A and 3A Greater St. Helens Leagues voted to move all fall sports to March and April of next year, league president Rory Oster announced.
“While league officials strongly believe in the growth that interscholastic education-based athletics provides and want to return student-athletes to the field as soon as possible, we also believe this decision is best for the health and safety of the student athletes, coaches and communities which is always the top priority,” Oster said in a statement released Thursday. Oster is the athletic director at Camas High School.
The 4A GSHL consists of Battle Ground, Camas, Skyview and Union. The 3A GSHL consists of Evergreen, Heritage, Kelso, Mountain View and Prairie.
Washougal athletic director Gary McGarvie, president of the 2A GSHL, said that league will make an announcement on the status of the fall sports season on Friday. However on Wednesday, Longview schools Mark Morris and R.A. Long — both members of the 2A GSHL — announced they will move their remaining fall sports to Season 3 of the revised 2020-21 sports year.
The 1A Trico League will move boys golf to Season 3, but some league schools are trying to find a way to hold a portion of their cross country season this fall, La Center athletic director Matt Cooke said. Trico schools do not offer boys tennis or slowpitch softball.
When the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association set its revised 2020-21 athletic calendar last month in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak, it left an option for some schools and leagues in the state to hold the regular seasons for sports like cross country, slowpitch softball, boys golf and boys tennis in the fall or “Season 1.”
Other traditional fall sports like football, volleyball and girls soccer had already been moved to Season 3 by the WIAA. Season 3 starts in early March and continues through April of the revised 2020-21 calendar.
But with most school districts in Southwest Washington moving to remote learning to open the school year, it made it difficult for schools to justify holding sports in the fall.
“Not having school, but you’re having sports, how do you justify that?” Mark Morris athletic director Robert Blackman told the Longview Daily News. “The governor came out pretty strongly about not doing them as well.”
Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee recommended that any county in the moderate-risk to high-risk range for COVID-19 outbreak cancel or postpone all in-person sports and activities this fall. Clark County moved into the high-risk range earlier this week, while Cowlitz County remains in the moderate-risk group.
Every public school district in Clark County has announced that school will start with remote learning next month, Most districts in Cowlitz County have announced the same.
With Skyview not competing this fall, other Vancouver schools are expected to follow suit. Columbia River, Hudson’s Bay and Fort Vancouver will compete in the 2A GSHL in 2020-21. With R.A. Long and Mark Morris already out this fall, the 2A GSHL likely will announce Friday it will follow the 4A and 3A GSHLs in moving all fall sports to Season 3.
In the Trico League, Castle Rock and La Center will move cross country to Season 3, but Columbia-White Salmon and King’s Way Christian are still keeping the door open to hold some cross country meets this fall.
“They want to get their kids involved” in cross country, Cooke said.
If possible, the Bruins and Knights would participate in a couple of meets in the fall, then save the balance of their schedule for Season 3. Seton Catholic is still deciding whether to join Columbia and King’s Way or push its entire schedule to Season 3.
The WIAA’s current modified sports calendar for 2020-21
All dates tentative
Consists of alternate seasons for cross country, slowpitch softball, golf and tennis
Practice starts Sept. 7, competition starts Sept. 14 and runs through Nov. 1.
Consists of basketball, bowling, boys swim and dive, gymnastics, wrestling
Practice begins Dec. 28. Competition starts Jan. 4 and runs through Feb. 21. Possible state competition Feb. 22-28.
Consists of football, volleyball, girls soccer (2B/1B boys), girls swim and dive, cross country, slowpitch softball, alternate seasons for golf and tennis.
Practice begins March 1 (Feb. 17 for football). Competition begins March 8 (March 5 for football) and runs through April 25. Possible state competition April 26-May 2.
Consists of baseball, fastpitch softball, boys soccer, track and field, golf and tennis.
Practice begins April 26. Competition begins May 3 and runs through June 20. Possible state competition June 21-27.