WENATCHEE — The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association issued further details on Tuesday about plans for high school sports in the upcoming season. Wenatchee Athletic Director Jim Beeson said there were no big revelations.
However, there was a decision to move cross country to Season 3, which Beeson felt was good considering Chelan County will likely not be in Phase 3 by September in order for cross country to happen in the fall. Season three starts in early March.
“There will probably be nothing going on in the Big 9. I just don’t see how we’re going to get to any acceptable phase to be able to do anything by the time Sept. 7 rolls around,” Beeson said. “Now, they’ve changed everything. Cross country alternative season is the fall, while the regular season is Season 3.”
Beeson said it does not make any sense to have cross country in Season 1 while having the championship in Season 3.
“We’re headed to where we thought we were going to be in the first place. I didn’t think we would have anything until Jan. 1 and that’s pretty much where we’ll end up being,” Beeson said.
The WIAA Executive Board met with athletic directors on Wednesday to discuss the latest changes to the plan and take questions. Beeson said they were told the board is meeting on Nov. 3 to evaluate the start of Season 2 and decide whether it is realistic or not.
Cashmere Athletic Director Jeff Carlson said some of his questions were answered. He felt there was more clarity on what the fall will look like.
“It’s looking more likely we won’t offer any sports at all until the end of December when basketball and wrestling are supposed to begin,” Carlson said. “That became more clear. Now we can get together as a league. It’s nice that we now know how many contests we can have in each sport.”
First thing, Carlson said the league will discuss how many league games to play, then come up with a strategy to find non-league opponents, if any are available.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions, but Carson felt the WIAA has done a good job of keeping schools in the loop and being pretty transparent.
Beeson said the WIAA is dealing with difficult circumstances.
“For any super frustrated with the process, I think the WIAA has done a great job with this. At least, they’ve communicated and kept us in the loop about what is going on. They are one of the first ones to come out with a plan, instead of just pushing it back,” Beeson said. “Now we have a plan. At least we have something to aim for and go from there. It’s all we can do.”
With Chelan County at Phase 1.5 and COVID numbers high, any fall sport was unlikely. Beeson said they won’t be doing much until Season 2.
“Even golf in the fall — we would have a three-week window in the fall to qualify for state in the spring or Season 4. I just see us getting to the point to play golf,” Beeson said. “With our COVID numbers, are we going to be in Phase 3 by Sept. 7? It’s just not going to happen. Between Chelan, Douglas and Yakima counties, we’re not going to get there. Grant County might, but their (COVID) numbers have been increasing too.”
Chelan County might not be in Phase 3 by the end of December, which would put Season 2 sports in jeopardy.
“You don’t know what things will be like coming into December and January, what phase we’re in and what we’ll be allowed to do,” Carlson said. “They (WIAA) are doing the best they can, but we don’t know where we’ll be in Chelan County at that time. That provides a lot of uncertainty in regards to what we’ll be playing and when.”
Another question not addressed by the WIAA is the plight of JV and C-squad teams. Beeson said that will be a district-by-district decision, predicated on transportation, and what will be allowed.
“Do we have to keep the kids 6-feet apart and in every other row? The cost related to the transportation piece will have a big bearing on that. Maybe we only play Cashmere, Cascade, Chelan, Ephrata and Quincy with our sub-varsity teams. Maybe we play those teams three times,” Beeson said. “It will all be predicated on what phase we are at whether we’ll be able to play.”
Carlson said he has no idea about JV, C-squad or middle school sports.
“The WIAA hasn’t addressed that yet. We run into issues with facilities and so many sports at the same location,” Carlson said. “We just don’t have the gyms or fields to keep everyone going. It’s going to be interesting to see how that puzzle is put together.”