By Mari Erin Roth
Special for Plumas News
The only high school sports action that has taken place since athletic events shut down last spring was the recent Quincy Boosters Golf Tournament fundraiser that took place Oct. 17 at Plumas Pines Golf Course in Blairsden. Thirty-plus golfers participated in what is planned to be the first of an annual event for the Quincy Athletics teams courtesy of QHS Boosters. “The event went very well,” said QHS Athletic Director Jason Hawkins. School officials will have to see how things pan out but there is a plan already in motion for high school athletic team seasons.
Fact is, 13 sports are on the schedule and most are currently training in what is determined to be Covid-safe conditions. How is that possible? Hawkins explained that the Quincy football team has been active with conditioning practices three times a week since Sept. 2. Non-contact practices keep the athletes active and somewhat ready for a season should the time come. “Shortened seasons are scheduled,” said Hawkins, “and the dates of seasons have been shifted in most cases.”
For example, the football season has moved down the calendar to run March 5 through the end of April 2021. Season date changes resulted in league changes and an abbreviated 7-week schedule for most sports. Portola will still be in the same competition league with Quincy but far away teams have been added to the line-up: Etna, Mt. Shasta, Weed and Trinity. League modification results in longer travel times for team league play, but shorter travel for non-conference games remain with Loyalton, Greenville and Chester still in the mix.
Football is grouped with volleyball and soccer for the March 5 to end of April season. Volleyball practice involves one player, one ball, as in no sharing of equipment. Practice of set ups, digs and serves are all solo activities in the Covid-aware drills.
How a season of play would look for the fans is still on the drawing board. “We hope that we will be able to have some fans in the stands for games,” said Hawkins of volleyball and basketball competitions.
Soccer practice is somewhat easier to imagine as players practice drills individually, keeping 6-foot distances on the field. Being an outdoor sport makes spectators at the games sound simpler, but Hawkins said there are no guarantees, “We still haven’t figured it out.”
Before the challenges of an indoor volleyball season and the outdoor sports of football and soccer, coaches have the first approaching season of boys and girls basketball and skiing scheduled to begin early January 2021 through the end of February.
Ski team athletes have the challenge of travel to Tahoe ski areas and chairlifts up the hill, once the snow finally flies. Athletes can work on weight training and conditioning while waiting, like the rest of the County, for some sign of precipitation.
QHS Athletic Director Hawkins said basketball athletes could hold practice similar to volleyball, one-player-one-ball while maintaining social distancing protocols. Conditioning will have to be the primary focus for students without the ability to practice the usual “in-your-face” action that essentially IS basketball.
The last teams to step up to the plate, starting May 7 to June 11, are baseball, softball and wrestling. How that last one will manage for competitions must be the ultimate dilemma for coaches, but strength training and conditioning individually is already a big part of wrestling practice.
The possibility of ball fields unencumbered by snow sounds terrific. So many seasons the teams have been unable to practice on a diamond or even participate in early-in-the-schedule league games because of snow on the field, especially Chester High. Extending the season past the end of school opens the door for practice before the league begins, should Covid conditions and safety accommodations allow for the season to take place.
Other sports on the schedule include tennis, cheer and golf. Fans, parents, athletes, coaches and schoolmates can enjoy practices in hopes of a coming season, which is 100 percent more than what High School athletes last spring, summer and fall were permitted.
Greater knowledge of Covid precautionary measures has enabled high school athletics to plan, and hope, for a full season. We can all wait on the bench together for the outcome, physically-distanced and masked of course.