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3A/4A Greater St. Helens League merges Seasons 2 and 3

Traditional Winter and Spring sports will run simultaneously starting April 12

By , Columbian sports reporter

Winter and Spring sports will run simultaneously in Clark County starting this April. The nine-team 3A/4A Greater St. Helens League decided Tuesday it will merge Seasons 2 and 3 on Tuesday. Evergreen School District athletic director Cale Piland confirmed the news Wednesday evening.

Seasons 2 and 3 will begin on April 12 and run through June 11. Season 1, which started on Feb. 1, will conclude on April 2. It is a deviation from the calendar outline set by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association last month.

Season 2 — which includes baseball, softball, girls golf, girls tennis, boys soccer and track and field — was scheduled to begin March 15. With higher-risk sports in Season 1, such as volleyball, girls soccer and football,  delayed until Phase 2 is reached under Washington state’s “Stay Healthy” plan, significant overlap in seasons appeared inevitable. Under the league’s new plan, Season 1 will end April 2 regardless of how soon the region was able to begin competition.

“Things were already about as condensed as they could be,” Piland said. “We wanted to prioritize giving spring sports a full look at a season because they didn’t get one last year.”

Season 3 — which includes basketball, bowling, gymnastics, swimming and wrestling — will follow the same schedule as Season 2. It was previously scheduled to start April 26 and run through June 13.

This change may force multi-sport athletes to choose a sport, but this was the best option available at the moment, Piland said.

The league may seek WIAA approval if there are a large number of kids who want to play multiple sports simultaneously. That is currently outlawed for larger schools in the WIAA bylaws.

“At this point, nothing is off the table,” Piland said. The league will continue to monitor WIAA guidelines and health board recommendations in making their decisions going forward. “This is what we arrived at now. We will continue to evaluate as we go.”

The 2A Greater St. Helens League will discuss its plans moving forward on Friday when more local health data is expected to be releaseed, Ridgefield athletic director Brynan Shipley said.

Currently boys golf, cross country and boys tennis are competing in Phase 1. For higher-risk sports to begin competition, the Southwest Region — which includes Clark, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum, Skamania and Klickitat counties — needs to enter Phase 2. They can meet that by achieving three of four COVID-19 metrics, which includes new case numbers, hospital admission rate, ICU occupancy and positivity rate.

Columbian sports reporter

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