WIAA updates prep sports schedule

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced on Wednesday it will be making additional changes to its high school sports calendar this season.

In what the WIAA calls Season 1, the sports of cross country, football, girls soccer, boys 1B/2B soccer, girls swimming, volleyball, golf and tennis will begin practices on Feb. 1 and will run for seven weeks, ending on March 20.

The change comes a day after Gov. Jay Inslee announced the “Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery’ plan, which outlined new guidelines and metrics for the resumption of businesses and services within the state, including education-based athletics.

The governor’s plan divides the state into eight separate regions, based in part on their shared health resources — with Grays Harbor and Pacific counties joining Lewis and Thurston counties in the West Region — and two phases, with competitions and spectators only allowed in the less restrictive Phase 2. Every region starts fresh in Phase 1 and depending on health-related measurements in the region can move up.

Phase 1 only allows practice and training for low- and moderate-risk sports. This means there are still some questions as to whether high-risk sports — football and in the near future, basketball and wrestling — will be able to compete as scheduled.

“The change in guidelines allow all traditional fall sports to be played in Phase 2 while we still do not have a clear pathway to the high risk indoor activities of basketball, competitive cheer and dance, and wrestling” WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman said. “With that in mind, moving fall sports to Season 1 will hopefully provide the most opportunities to participate.”

The prep sports schedule is tentative at this point as the WIAA said it is working with the state Department of Health to garner additional information regarding guidelines for prep sports.

“We are hoping to receive more details that were not included in the Governor’s announcement on Tuesday, particularly surrounding indoor sports and activities,” Hoffman said. “As we continue to gather more information and evaluate the new metrics, the Board will be able to make better decisions about the remainder of the year.”