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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Izzy Wells snags a rebound during a February game, the last time CHS sports teams played before the pandemic shut things down. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Hold on.

After meeting Tuesday, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Board announced it would wait until January 4 to make a decision on whether high school basketball will begin Feb. 1.

The current plan for Covid-delayed prep sports in Washington state is for traditional winter activities to go first, with fall and spring sports following.

Each will have a seven-week season — one week for practice, five for games, and one for a “regional culminating event” in place of a state tourney.

Under that plan, winter sports will run from Feb. 1-March 20, with fall sports March 15-May 1, and spring sports April 26-June 12.

Football will begin practice March 8, as it requires additional practice time.

The biggest issue, however, is whether schools will be eligible to play basketball (or wrestle, swim, bowl, or perform gymnastics — winter sports not offered by CHS) as COVID-19 cases spike nation-wide.

Which is why the WIAA is choosing to wait three weeks to see where things are before making any further decisions.

Under current state guidelines, counties must have fewer than 25 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period to be eligible to play “high-risk” sports such as basketball, wrestling, or football.

No county currently qualifies, with San Juan County being the only one recording less than 100 cases.

Where Coupeville and its Northwest 2B/1B League foes stand:

Friday Harbor — San Juan County — 40.8 cases
Orcas Island — San Juan County — 40.8 cases
Chimacum — Jefferson County — 131.7 cases
Coupeville — Island County — 172.1 cases
Concrete — Skagit County — 301.1 cases
La Conner — Skagit County — 301.1 cases
Mount Vernon Christian — Skagit County — 301.1 cases
Darrington — Snohomish County — 394.7 cases

But, things can change fast, and for multiple reasons.

Governor Jay Inslee released new guidelines Wednesday for in-person instruction in state schools, loosening previous restrictions.

It’s possible there will be a similar reassessment of the sports-specific guidelines, as well.

“The revised recommendations for in-person learning issued by the Governor’s Office, OSPI, and Department of Health show that our state leaders are using all available science and data to drive their decisions,” the WIAA said in a statement Wednesday night.

“While sports and activities were not covered during the announcement, the WIAA is hopeful that guidelines for extracurricular participation will also be revised to align with the data and information that was presented today.”

After Tuesday’s WIAA meeting, Executive Board president Tim Thomsen gave an interview to the Eli Sports Network.

During that discussion, he hit on several key points.

“We know, through all the studies and everything else, that one of the safest places for kids to be is in school,” Thomsen said. “And even safer than that, is in a sports program where it’s even more controlled and a smaller group.”

While saying he’d love it if someone could give him a crystal ball to tell the future, Thomsen urged coaches, athletes, and parents to remain upbeat.

While the WIAA’s hope is for its current schedule to go off perfectly, there are other options on the table as well.

Sports could still be shuffled, with low-risk ones such as cross country moving up. and high-risk ones momentarily stepping back.

Seasons might also be trimmed from seven weeks to six, with the first one starting Feb. 22 instead of Feb. 1.

“That’s about as short as you can make them and make them a viable season,” Thomsen said. “So we realize if we do that, that’s probably the last time we could utilize that option.”

The most dire option, and one the WIAA would like to avoid, is compressing sports into one or two seasons, instead of three, or cancelling some sports outright.

Everything will be done to avoid that if possible, Thomsen said.

There will also be an emphasis on preserving spring sports, as those programs already lost a season when schools originally shut down at the start of the pandemic.

Hovering over everything is the realization there may not be just one answer for the entire state.

If some counties are ready to play before others, they won’t be expected to wait for those lagging behind, with the WIAA pledging to allow schools and leagues to make a lot of their own decisions.

Which means, it’s possible we could see 2B Coupeville play 3A Oak Harbor and 1A South Whidbey if Island County were to improve its COVID case counts before the counties of Wolf league rivals do.

Anything is possible, and anything is on the table.

Barring the arrival of that crystal ball, no one knows nothing, no matter what they tell you.

For his part, Thomsen urges those who want to see prep sports return to approach the Christmas season with a plan in place.

Follow social distancing guidelines, wear masks, and do your part to help your county reduce its case count.

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Scott Stuurmans banks home a bucket during the 2015 Tom Roehl Roundball Classic. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

For the first time in years, there won’t be an alumni basketball tourney in Coupeville.

The Tom Roehl Roundball Classic, which grew from an all-Wolf event to a major hoops showdown pitting local teams against off-Island foes, has been called off a month before tip-off.

The 2018 tourney was originally set for Dec. 22.

Tournament organizer Noah Roehl released a statement Monday afternoon:

We are canceling the 2018 Tom Roehl Hoops tournament.

We may re-visit hosting at a later date in the spring and will re-evaluate for future years.

We are sorry to do this, but feel it’s in the best interest of folks involved in organizing the tournament and time commitments of all of us over the holidays.

The tournament is named in honor of Noah’s father, who was a highly-influential local coach for decades.

Tom Roehl was an assistant football coach for many years on Ron Bagby’s staff at Coupeville High School, while also running a very-successful youth basketball program.

After his death in 2003, the Roehl family launched football and basketball alumni games, which have generated considerable money for scholarships which are presented to local students annually.

While the football game was retired, the basketball tourney grew in popularity, as alumni teams like Red Pride and the Coupeville Cows vied with teams from Oak Harbor, South Whidbey, Seattle and beyond.

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