‘Fall’ sports postponed, boys volleyball moved

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Aliyah Ahmad

Center defensive midfielder junior Michael Franco guides the soccer ball during practice on the practice field on Dec. 8.

Isaac Choi

Editor’s Note: Shortly after this story was published in the Dec. 14 print issue, the California Department of Public Health released updated guidelines that will allow high school sports to resume no earlier than Jan. 25. Sports will be organized into three different groups based on the amount of contact involved in each sport, and each group will be allowed to play depending on the conditions in its respective county.

Five months after the traditional three-season sports calendar was condensed into two, the California Interscholastic Federation [CIF] State office delayed the start of games statewide as well as canceled the Regional and State Championships because of the state’s spike in positive coronavirus cases.

The decision pushes off the start date for Season 1 sports that were originally scheduled to start this month with the exception of football, which was scheduled to begin Jan. 8.

Boys volleyball was also pushed over from Season 1 to Season 2.

“This [postponement] offers our Sections and Leagues the flexibility and needed time to plan for the return to practice and competition once updated guidance is provided by the CDPH,” according to the CIF State news release dated Dec. 1. Without California Department of Public Health’s [CDPH] approval of plans for student-athletes returning to play, high school sports cannot start. CIF State cannot release the sports calendar of the full games and seasons for spring sports.

A news release later that day from CIF Southern Section Commissioner of Athletics Rob Wigod confirmed this statement.

“We believed that if we allowed the maximum amount of time possible to gain control of the situation, we could deliver to our student-athletes what we all want for them and give them what they deserve,” Wigod said. “In the time we have before the new year and into the new year, we must strive to make progress within our Southern Section footprint to have the opportunity to return to play when the time comes.”

The Lancers’ first boys volleyball match was scheduled for Dec. 18, and now the team has no start date because of its transfer to Season 2.

“My initial reaction to this delay was full of nerves, but once [I heard] the news, I felt relieved that our season is now back to its original schedule, which is in spring,” new volleyball head coach Albert Soliguen said.“This will definitely allow more time for the team to prepare and work on our team chemistry.”

Although the news release made no stipulations as to how practices should be operated, local school districts including Anaheim Unified High School District, Brea Olinda High School District and Los Angeles Unified High School District have all halted in-person practices.

Despite the threat of the suspension of practices on Fullerton Joint Union High School District campuses, volleyball outside hitter senior Joseph Pak isn’t concerned.

“A little less worried that our season was pushed to spring because now we have time to prepare ourselves individually,” Pak said. “At this point everything is up in the air, but with all the things going on, I’m hopeful we’ll just take it day by day.”

Football linebacker senior Noah Brown echoed Pak’s statement.

“We can only control what we control so some of my teammates and I usually work out with each other on our own when we aren’t in practice as a team,” Brown said.

Despite CIF State’s second postponement of sports during the 2020-2021 school year, new athletic director Paul Jones still anticipates the return of high school sports.

“My heart goes out to the students and especially the seniors who missed competitions last year and now face the possibility of missing competitions this year,” Jones said. “We all wait with great anticipation, the guidelines from the California Department of Health and CIF to determine when we will return to high school sports.”

This story originally appeared in the Dec. 14 print issue, which can be read here.