Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Jan. 20, 2021

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WIAA moves fall sports back to the front of prep calendar

Games could possibly start in February

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association moved fall sports to the front of the line to return to play on Wednesday.

The WIAA Executive Board voted to amend its season schedule, moving traditional fall sports to Season 1 with practices beginning Feb. 1 and competition running from Feb. 8 to March 20.

A decision regarding the other seasons of the sports calendar will be made during a executive board meeting Jan. 19.

Wednesday’s announcement came as a reaction to guidelines set in the state’s “Healthy Washington” reopening plan unveiled by Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday.

“The change in guidelines allow all traditional fall sports to be played in Phase 2, while we still do not have a clear pathway to the high-risk indoor activities of basketball, competitive cheer and dance, and wrestling,” WIAA executive director Mick Hoffman said in a statement. “With that in mind, moving fall sports to Season 1 will hopefully provide the most opportunities to participate.”

Season 1 includes cross country, football, boys golf, boys tennis, slowpitch softball, girls swimming and volleyball.

In Phase 1 of the Healthy Washington plan announced Tuesday by Inslee, the state will loosen restrictions by geographic regions, instead of counties.

Clark County is in the Southwest Region along with Cowlitz, Skamania and Klickitat counties.

The entire state will begin in Phase 1 of the plan when it is instituted next week. The plan permits practices and training for low-risk indoor sports in groups of five or fewer, and low- and moderate-risk outdoor sports can hold practices and training with no number restrictions in Phase 1.

In Phase 2 of the plan, low- and moderate-risk indoor sports can hold competitions, and all outdoors sports can hold competitions.

When the WIAA revised its 2020-21 athletic calendar in November, it called for resuming play on Feb. 1 with traditional winter sports.

However, high-risk indoor winter sports — basketball and wrestling — were not mentioned in the plan. That prompted the WIAA to move fall sports to the front of the calendar.

The WIAA will continue to work with the state department of health to gain more clarity surrounding the guidelines that were issued Tuesday.

“We are hoping to receive more details that were not including in the governor’s announcement on Tuesday, particularly surrounding indoor sports and activities,” Hoffman said. “As we continue to gather more information and evaluate new metrics, the board will be able to make better decisions about the remainder of the year.”