PREPS: WIAA shuffles seasons; moves may not matter

RENTON — The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced a handful of updates to its plan for prep sports during the upcoming school year, including an option for schools to wait to begin competition until Season 2.

The announcement, which was delivered earlier this week, came after continued feedback the organization has received since its initial announcement of a four-season plan on July 21.

The changes also include altered dates to the start of football practice, moving the girls swim and dive season from the fall to spring of 2021 and the addition of two weeks to the proposed Season 2, which includes boys and girls basketball and wrestling.

Under the new revisions, all sports offered in Season 1 — cross country, tennis, golf and slowpitch softball — are listed as alternative seasons.

Alternative seasons give schools the option to compete in a regular season prior to the season the WIAA offers that sport’s state championship.

The WIAA traditionally offers alternative seasons for golf and tennis in the fall before state championships at the end of spring. Port Angeles and Sequim plus the combined Chimacum-Port Townsend boys tennis teams have competed in the alternative season in the fall for many years.

There have been impacts in the past with Port Angeles baseball players advancing to the state tennis tournament on the same day as a Roughriders’ state baseball game.

State championships for cross country and slowpitch softball will be held in Season 3, which is scheduled for March 1 through May 2.

Tennis and golf state tournaments will be held in Season 4, which is April 26 through June 27.

High school football practices, originally scheduled to begin Feb. 22, will now begin Feb. 17. The decision stems from the increased number of practices required for football players to participate in games.

Girls swim and dive was officially moved to Season 3. Original plans had the sport as a possibility for Season 1, pending guidance from the state Department of Health.

The WIAA also announced that Season 2 will now begin Dec. 28 and end Feb 28.

All for nought?

All the season movement may be similar to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Numerous school districts, including Bremerton, Central Kitsap, North Kitsap and North Mason, all announced plans this week to begin the fall term with online-only instruction.

This impacts potential opponents for Port Angeles and Sequim and takes Klahowya off Port Townsend’s Nisqually League schedule.

Prep sports’ spring season ceased March 13 when Gov. Jay Inslee closed all K-12 public and private schools.

The return of prep sports, while not officially tied to in-person school attendance, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense with schools shuttered and students meeting virtually.

The Kitsap Sun reported the Kitsap Public Health District issued a letter Monday to area superintendents recommending against in-person classes. It also advises against holding athletics and other extracurricular activities.

And Inslee’s announcement of an indefinite, statewide pause to the four-phase COVID-19 reopening plan on Tuesday, leaves prep administrators, coaches and athletes continuing to play the waiting game.

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Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or at [email protected].

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