Fall sports will have a whole new look for the 20/21 season
The Ventura Unified School District fall closure cancelled classes all over the county, but also tainted the seasons of many upcoming and returning athletes of fall and spring sports. With the closure came many common questions as to if fall sports will occur and how they will proceed.
Ventura High must follow Ventura County’s health guidelines, which are in accordance with the state guidelines as well. Prior to Aug., the decision was made to postpone–not cancel–fall sports to the winter season, and winter sports to the spring season. At this time, spring sports continue to stay on track.
VHS is aware of potential problems that student athletes could face during the winter season. It’s common for athletes to compete in a fall sport as well as a spring sport, such as football and track and field. Now that football is taking place winter through spring, it interferes with the track season as well. All is still uncertain, but VHS coaches have communicated and established a set of protocols in which dual athletes can rotate between sports for certain games. For example, league games would take precedence over non-league games, and the dual athlete would attend the sport with a league game that day.
Throughout the past months, the virus stats in Ventura County had prevented sports from meeting for pre-season conditioning. During this time, VUSD announced a plan of phases, all dependent on the progress of the virus stats in the county. The “Phase 1” voluntary workouts–starting Sept. 22–will be nothing like what student athletes are used to. Students will meet in small groups with their coaches, wear masks, conduct daily self-assessments for signs/symptoms of Covid-19, participate in sanitizing/hand washing, and stay six feet apart for light conditioning. Use of the locker rooms is also prohibited. If numbers of the virus continue to lower, coaches can move to “Phase 2” workouts, which would involve more complex conditioning. While this sounds promising, it is all built on hope; everything is uncertain.
Senior and varsity football player Jordan Tanner expressed his thoughts regarding his last season being pushed back, “With my football season being postponed to winter and into spring, a lot had crossed my mind. ‘Am I going to miss my senior season? Are we even going to have a season?’ But while waiting a long time to have a football season, Coach Garcia kept myself and my teammates engaged and hungry! I took the postponed time to try to better myself and prepare as much as I [could] by studying the plays, watching film, lifting weights and working out physically! But I am very excited to be starting phase one of our return to play on Wed. Sept. 23! I hope to continue on with this process and see our cougar family at our first game in the 2021 season!”
Athletic Director David Hess shared a message to all VHS athletes about the unpredictable times this school year holds. “We are going to do everything we can to try to give everybody a chance to compete in their sport this year. We are committed, and I don’t mean just me, I mean the district is committed, our superintendent, we talk about it all the time. We really wanna make sure that we can have as normal of a year as possible for everybody and we are committed to doing that. We need to keep our fingers crossed that we start getting some good virus news so that this whole year doesn’t end up being the year [that life] happened on Zoom.”