by Jon Donohue, staff writer
New guidelines released by the California Department of Public Health, as well as the regional stay at home order being lifted on Jan. 25, made it possible for the Santa Rosa City Schools district to confirm a season for cross country, track and field, tennis, and golf.
The new CDPH guidelines stated which sports will be allowed to return, with each one individually assigned a tier level: purple, red, orange and yellow. They were separated into categories specific to their exposure level and whether they are “indoor” or “outdoor” sports. These categories were used to determine which sports will be allowed to practice and compete given the tier the county is in. Cross country, track, tennis and golf were deemed “purple tier sports” by the CDPH. Sonoma County is currently in the purple tier, so that is why only these sports were allowed to start practicing. In March, according to the Santa Rosa City Schools district, they will start competing.
If we were to move down to the red tier, then baseball and softball would be able to return as well. If we were to move down to the orange tier, football, soccer, badminton and volleyball would be able to return. If we were to move down to the yellow tier, basketball and wrestling would be able to return.
Once the CDPH released their updated guidelines, the next step in getting “purple tier sports” back became leaving shelter in place, which happened on Jan. 25. It was then up to the North Coast Section, the regional high school sports governing body, to decide whether or not to have a qualifier for state championships. They decided not to, so currently there is no option for Carrillo athletes to compete at the state level. After all that, the North Bay League, or NBL, was finally able to make the decision to bring back Cross Country and Track and Field for local competitions.
The season for both sports will go from “Feb. 1 to June 12, and the district and NBL have established parameters around this,” MCHS cross country and track coach Greg Fogg said. “They have decided that cross country and track will be split in half: nine weeks for cross country, nine weeks for track. At this point, we have only four meets scheduled [for each sport].”
“We are ready to go just need another week [until Feb. 9] to get all athletes registered, including extra forms for COVID turned in to be cleared for practice.”
For tennis, coach Bob Klyce said that “the first match is on March 2nd. The season will go about eight weeks, and finish on April 1. The girls season will start on April 5 and run all the way to June.” Practice should “be starting on Monday, Feb 1,” but Klyce thinks that the start will most likely “be delayed a week.” It would be delayed due to athletes having to fill out all the paperwork needed to be cleared to practice and compete.
Now that a group of Carrillo athletes have at least some of their sports back, people can start to have hope for something, a feat we haven’t seen in a very long time. Pranav Thyagarajan, a Carrillo tennis athlete, said, “It is going to be very exciting, the first time in about a year that the school will be open. I can’t wait to go practice with my friends; currently, there is no reward at the end of the day, just homework. No rewards.”
Noe Viera, a Carrillo cross country and track athlete, agreed with Thyagarajan. Viera said, “It’s great to see that there’s finally some ground being made regarding the start of sports [because] people don’t realize how important athletics are. They should be recognized as a priority.”
Overall, the return of sports is a very positive symbol of hope for Carrillo and other high schools in the NBL. The next thing to hope for would be trying to compete at higher levels, with several schools instead of dual meets.
“I would like to see broader competition allowed if it is safe to,” Fogg said. “June is a long ways away, so things hopefully turn up.”