Prep sports: It is the worst of times; it is the worst of times
YOLO COUNTY NEWS

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Prep sports: It is the worst of times; it is the worst of times

Finally, something definitive about the fall sports season. No more wondering when the high school season will start. Coaches and student-athletes can put their practice schedules and game plans together.

… Until four months from now, when those same prep players and their mentors could still be breathlessly waiting to find out if there is going to be a season — again.

Nonetheless, when the California Interscholastic Federation announced this week that it wouldn’t be prudent to start its sports calendar on time (thank you, coronavirus), it did provide shape for a new-look calendar that will accommodate three seasons in winter and spring.

Davis High Athletic Director Jeff Lorenson has been busy talking with Sac-Joaquin Section officials, local schools administrators and Blue Devil athletic staff to learn and communicate the minutia of the new directive.

Meanwhile, many traditional fall sports teams at the high school were conducting preseason conditioning in anticipation of direction from the section. Lorenson says all that planning could change now.

For example, football under the direction of head coach Steve Smyte, has been going for almost a month on and off campus. Smyte’s guys were given the week off before the announcement, but were to have started practice in earnest.

But Smyte said it wasn’t going to be particularly beneficial to “be practicing defense without being able to touch anybody.” Smyte says his program has a handful of scenarios in place for the next phase of workouts and will discuss with Lorenson and his staff what comes next.

Beyond football, The Enterprise surveyed the reactions of a handful of DHS coaches and athletes. Happy to have some definition? Sure. Pensive about how it will all shake out? Yep.

“We’ve been waiting to get more information about what we’ll be able to do through the school … using school facilities and everything,” Devil baseball coach Ethan Guevin said, then reacting to the jumble of overlapping sports that will now compete with each other:

“I think one of the great things about playing multiple sports is (under normal circumstances) it gives your body a built-in rest period from the physical demands of (each) individual sport. So, my primary concern would be the health and safety of the players.”

Luke Carrell, Guevin’s ace lefty and the football team’s quarterback, is eager to get going …

“I’m glad to see … that they have a plan, and (football is) not going to overlap with baseball for most of the season,” Carrell told The Enterprise. “So my plan is to play both.”

Keaton Massey, a senior who plays both basketball and lacrosse, weighed in:

“I definitely think it’s going to be interesting,” he said. “I just hope everything works out so we can have a season. I’d wait for 2021 to play instead of just not being able to play. I just hope things clear up so us seniors can finish our last year of high school. 

“For all those other multiple-sport athletes, I think this year is gonna make them have to choose the one sport they really love and want to focus on for the future.”

Spring sports are expected to include badminton, lacrosse, competitive sport cheerleading, wrestling, tennis, golf, softball, track and field, swimming and diving, basketball, baseball and soccer.

“On one hand, it’s good because we’re not playing in the winter,” DHS boys soccer coach Alex Park said. “But I’m not sure how we’re going to be able to pull this off with all the sports playing at the same time. It’s going to be a lot of work. But I’m really glad that we’re going to have a season.”

Relayed girls coach Sara Stone:

“All I know is that the season has changed.

“I think the biggest challenge is going to be with the majority of our players who are playing club at a high level. Those club schedules have come out and all the downtime is during the winter. I don’t know what that will look like from a club standpoint, if it will change the structure of traveling for showcases.

“Nobody can plan for this, nobody can wrap their brains around this. It’s going to look different and feel different for everybody,” Stone believed.

In making its announcement, CIF suspended bylaw 600 which forbade prep athletes from playing club and high school sports simultaneously.

Davis High boys swim coach Owen Yancher sees that as a real problem for his squad.

“My concern is that athletes will elect to compete with clubs instead of high school teams,” Yancher reported. “Club organizations are going to be organizing events during times of the year they typically don’t because now, all of the sudden, athletes are allowed to compete.

“Then you factor in all the athletes that also play multiple sports — including fall or winter ones that have been moved to the spring — and we might lose those athletes, too, should they choose to play a different sport. It’s like every high school team is starting out with a handicap. 

“Does it stink?” Yancher asked. “Sure. But in the end, if (by delaying the fall start) we can prevent a death — whether it’s a student, a parent, grandparent, sibling — then it’s worth it.” 

— The entire Enterprise sports staff contributed to this article.

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