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High school coaches are cautiously optimistic the sports season will begin in the fall even if it's going to look very different

By George Edgar
For West Sound SportsPlus

On Wednesday July 22, the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association reshuffled the high school sports season to ensure athlete safety in light of the coronavirus affecting the state and the country.

Football and volleyball have been moved to the spring to ensure player safety, while cross country, swimming, and tennis remained in the fall.

It was a move that was necessary, and the coaches in the Kitsap County area are relieved there will be a sports season, regardless of when it happens on the calendar.

“It’s not surprising,” said Olympic football coach Sal Quitevis of the seasonal reshuffling. “It’s the safest way to get the season started, especially with a game like football. You have to keep the players safe from the virus.

Olympic's Ezekiel Gillick tries to avoid Central Kitsap defensive lineman Mekai Seau during a non-league football game at the Kitsap Credit Union Athletic Complex Friday, Sept. 7, 2019. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)
Olympic’s Ezekiel Gillick tries to avoid Central Kitsap defensive lineman Mekai Seau during a non-league football game at the Kitsap Credit Union Athletic Complex Friday, Sept. 7, 2019. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

“I think they did a good job,” Quitevis continued. “This is probably the safest way to do it, and still have a season.”

Quitevis had forwarded the information to his players about the season change, but had not yet heard back from them. He knows his players are still working out on their own to get ready for the season.

There are not any organized workouts this summer due to the restrictions placed upon Kitsap County by the state. Restrictions are still in place and will be eased some more in Phase 3 of the four-phase plan. Kitsap County is still in Phase 2 as of July 25.

“I think they made a good decision,” said South Kitsap football coach Dan Ericson. “It was a tough decision obviously. There’s no playbook for a pandemic. It was a good decision to be respectful of all sports.”

The 2020-21 school year will be split into four seasons, and resemble a middle school/junior high sports calendar. The seasons will be shorter and bleed into each other a little bit; for example, wrestling could affect football since football will begin in March.

Kingston’s Madeline Seid celebrates a point during the Buccaneers match versus Foster in the 2A West Central District volleyball tournament Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, at Franklin Pierce High School in Tacoma. Kingston won 3-1. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

“A lot of us thought the season might be in jeopardy and it still might,” Ericson said. “This gives us a chance, a little bit of hope, to put on a season.”

Football is not the only sport moved from the fall to the spring. Volleyball and girls soccer were also moved, giving those athletes a chance to play.

“I’m happy they have a plan in place,” said Klahowya volleyball coach Wendy Kraft. “Hopefully, that plan will come to fruition.

“I’m happy they saw it was the right thing to do,” she continued, “doing it in the spring as opposed to doing nothing in the fall.”

The WIAA has posted when the seasons will begin for each quarter. 

“High school football games, just like all sports, are good,” said Ericson. “You have fans, students, cheerleaders, ROTC, all there. It’s a great event, a community showcase.”

When football does roll around this school year, fans will still get to experience the experience of Friday night games, as well as the other sports this season.

“We hope that what it looks like when we have the Friday night lights,” said Ericson. “It will just be in the spring.”

North Kitsap coach Greg St. Peter watches from the sideline as NK’s Emma Harper dribbles past a Bremerton defender in an Olympic League 2A girls soccer match Thursday, Sept. 14, 2018, at Bremerton Memorial Stadium. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

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