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Martinez: No COVID disruptions to state events anticipated

High School Sports

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: January 25, 2022, 10:43pm

The winter high school postseason gets started this weekend, and athletes, coaches and fans received a bit a good news Monday during a time when most of the news seems to be bad.

Speaking at the WIAA’s Winter Coalition, executive director Mick Hoffman said that despite a recent surge of COVID-19 cases, the WIAA does not anticipate any state tournament or championship being canceled or dramatically modified this winter.

“From what we’re hearing from local departments of health at this time, we anticipate all state tournaments being played,” Hoffman said Monday. “But again, there are some modifications, some more significant than others. But not significant that would fundamentally change our tournaments or limit participation in the number of students.”

On Friday, girls bowlers will compete in district tournaments for berths into state tournaments. The 4A and 3A district tournaments will be held at Hazel Dell Lanes, while the 2A district tournament will take place at Triangle Bowl in Longview.

The WIAA previously announced a slightly condensed format for the state bowling tournaments, which will be held Feb. 3-5 at Narrows Plaza Bowl near Tacoma. The new format will allow each classification — 4A, 3A and 2A/1A — to hold its state competition in a one-day format — 3A on Feb. 3, 2A/1A on Feb. 4 and 4A and Feb. 5.

Hoffman also said he does not anticipate the state enacting more COVID-19 restrictions on high school athletics above what are already in place.

But one restriction in place that is proving to be a burden on many schools and school districts is the three-times-a-week testing requirements for high-risk activities that include basketball and wrestling.

“We are continuing to question and advocate for flexibility in the testing requirements,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said he is aware of only two other states requiring testing of high school athletes, and none that require it three times a week.

State tournament coming to Clark County

For the first time in 18 years, a high school state team tournament will culminate in Clark County.

The WIAA Executive Board approved the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Center has the host site for the 2B and 1B state championships for baseball on May 27-28. There are not 2B or 1B schools in Clark County that field baseball teams. The closest 2B school that does is Kalama.

Some local high school golfers won’t have to travel as far for their state tournaments this spring.

The 4A boys state golf tournament will be played at Indian Summer Golf and Country Club in Olympia, while the 4A girls will play at Hawks Prairie Golf Course in Lacey.

The 2A boys state golf tournament will be held at Capitol City Golf Club in Olympia, and the 2A girls will play at Tumwater Valley Golf Club.

State tournaments for golfers in 3A, 1A, 2B and 1B will held on courses in and around Spokane.

Proposed WIAA amendments

Seven amendments to the WIAA handbook were presented at the WIAA’s Winter Coalition on Monday.

The most significant proposed amendment is one that will reduce the number of WIAA districts from nine down to six.

The number of WIAA districts has remained unchanged since 1980s when six districts on the westside of the state were condensed to the current four. The proposal this year would reduce the number of districts on the eastside of the state from five down to two.

The logic behind this proposal is some current districts on the eastside consist almost exclusively of small schools (Class 1A, 2B and 1B) or large schools (4A and 3A). In fact, District 9 in the northeast corner of the state consists of just 1B schools.

The proposal would combine the current Districts 5 and 6 into one district and current District 7-8-9 into another, giving both new districts a cross-section of large and small schools.

Districts on the westside of the state would remain unchanged.

Two other proposals would expand the number of games in the regular season for the sports of baseball, fastpitch softball and basketball.

The first proposal would allow baseball and softball teams to play up to 22 regular-season games (current limit is 20) and it would allow non-league doubleheaders to be counted as one contest.

The second proposal would allow basketball teams to count in-season tournaments of up to four games as one game toward their regular-season limit of 20 games.

This proposal has been put forth before the WIAA representative assembly before, but narrowly failed. The hope is that with so many teams struggling to reach 20 regular-season games this winter because of COVID postponements, there may be enough support this year to put this proposal over the top.

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