Arlington’s Cade Younger (left) is tackled by Marysville Pilchuck’s Kyle Nyblod during a game on Oct. 25, 2019, in Arlington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Arlington’s Cade Younger (left) is tackled by Marysville Pilchuck’s Kyle Nyblod during a game on Oct. 25, 2019, in Arlington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Wesco athletic directors unveil new plan for prep sports

The new proposal includes a three-season, Wesco-only schedule with competitions beginning March 1.

Athletic directors from Wesco have formulated their own schedule for a return to play for high school sports during the 2020-21 school year.

The league announced Friday its plans for a three-season, Wesco-only schedule that would break away from current plans set forth by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. The first prep sports practices for Wesco would begin Feb. 22, three weeks later than the current date for the WIAA’s plan of Feb. 1.

“When we look at the current metrics for COVID, also the phased in approach we are using to open schools, and conversations with superintendents, Feb. 1 was just not a realistic date to start,” Everett School District athletics director Robert Polk said.

Traditional fall sports — football, cross country, girls soccer, volleyball, boys tennis and girls swim and dive — are first on the schedule, with practices starting Feb. 22 and competition March 1. The season would end April 3.

The WIAA currently has winter sports — basketball, wrestling and boys swim and dive — scheduled first.

Playing more outdoor sports early was a factor in Wesco’s decision to start fall sports first.

“(Outdoor sports) definitely have a better shot than basketball and wrestling do,” Polk said of an earlier start.

He added that many superintendents have been adamant about not starting indoor sports.

Still, indoor fall sports volleyball and girls swim and dive, and football, a high-risk sport despite being played outdoors, may need a little help to start on time in Wesco’s new plans.

“Hopefully in January we’ll see some new information from the department of health and we can work with our superintendents to see what we can do,” Polk said.

It’s yet to be determined what Wesco’s new schedule will mean for Archbishop Murphy and Cedarcrest football programs. The Wesco schools are football-only members of the Northwest Conference.

“We still gotta iron that out,” Polk said. “I know we’ve had some different conversations with the Northwest Conference. We have not firmly landed the plane on that yet.”

Spring sports — baseball, softball, golf, boys soccer, girls tennis and track and field — would follow fall sports. Practices for spring sports would begin March 29 and competition April 5. The season ends May 8.

Winter sports will close out the year. Practices would start May 3 and competition May 10. The season’s final day is June 12.

Wesco athletic directors will need to get approval from their superintendents and the WIAA before going forward with their plan. Wesco president Don Dalziel, athletics director of the Shoreline School District, will submit a form to the WIAA with Wesco’s proposed schedules.

The WIAA is set to look over proposals from leagues Jan. 4.

“All communications that we have heard is that nearly every recommendation or proposal from a league will be accepted as long as safety is being kept in mind,” Polk said.

WIAA president Mick Hoffman mentioned that same sentiment in a Zoom call with the Washington State Secondary Athletic Administrators Association on Wednesday.

“We really can’t think of any reasons we would deny (a request),” Hoffman said during the call. “I’m sure there will be some creativity that will challenge that thinking.”

Athletic directors in Wesco will decide if a sport will go on as scheduled three weeks prior to the start of each season.

Those decisions will be based on the COVID-19 benchmarks of cases per 100,000 residents in a county over a two-week period and percentage of positive tests in a county over a week, unless a change of those benchmarks is announced before Feb. 1.

Counties with over 75 cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate above 5% are considered high risk. Counties in the high-risk category can only start intra-squad competition for low-risk sports — cross country, golf, swim and dive, tennis and track and field.

Moderate-risk counties, those with 25 to 75 cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of less than 5%, can hold intra-squad competition low- and moderate-risk sports. Baseball, bowling, gymnastics, soccer, softball and volleyball are moderate-risk sports.

Counties with less than 25 cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of less than 5% can begin intra-squad play for all sports, including high-risk sports football, basketball, wrestling and cheerleading with contact.

Snohomish County’s cases per 100,000 residents currently sits at 422.4. It’s positivity rate is 16.5%.

Wesco athletics directors also laid out a backup plan, which includes alternate seasons for fall sports if they are unable to begin as scheduled.

Volleyball and girls swim and dive would be moved to the second season with traditional spring sports, and football, girls soccer, boys tennis and cross country would move to the final season of the school year with traditional winter sports.

“We’re trying to create as consistent of a plan as possible,” Polk said. “So once we make a change of a sport to a different season, we’re gonna stick with that, even if numbers change and everything else. We’re trying to avoid the roller-coaster, herky-jerky changes that we keep seeing.

“So we’re hopeful with a consistent decision matrix, it will provide some stability.”

If only one season can be played, it will be spring sports since they weren’t played last school year after the coronavirus pandemic started.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Jean-Luc Baker leads advanced students through a warmup during the Seattle Skating Club 2024 Your True Step figure skating seminar on Saturday, June 15, 2024, at Olympic View Arena in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Patterson: What’s next for local Olympian Jean-Luc Baker?

The Edmonds ice dancer brought Olympic gold medalist Nathan Chen to town with Your True Step.

Logan Gilbert of the Seattle Mariners throws a pitch during the second inning against the Texas Rangers at T-Mobile Park on June 16, 2024, in Seattle, Washington. (Alika Jenner / Getty Images)
Mariners week: Gilbert’s brilliance lifts Seattle to sweep

Seattle’s 8 1/2-game lead in the AL West is its largest since the 2001 season.

AquaSox week in review: Mariners’ Polanco does rehab stint

Everett wins five of six on the road against Eugene; Schreck and Garcia have big weeks.

Women’s PGA Championship offers fans chance to watch and learn

The women’s golf major tournament comes to Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish beginning Thursday.

Jackson senior and UNLV commit Yanina Sherwood is The Herald’s 2024 Softball Player of the Year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
2024 Softball Player of the Year: Jackson’s Yanina Sherwood

With both her arm and bat, Sherwood led the Timberwolves to their second-straight state title.

Kamiak’s Synclair Mawudeku (2) pitches during a 4A softball game between Kamiak and Jackson at Kamiak High School on Tuesday, April 9, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. Jackson won, 9-0. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
The Herald’s 2024 All-Area softball team

Editor’s note: The Player of the Year and All-Area teams were chosen… Continue reading

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba catches the game-winning touchdown pass as Eagles cornerback James Bradberry defends in the fourth quarter on Dec. 18. (Yong Kim / Tribune News Service)
Seahawks look to fully unlock Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s potential

Seattle is expecting good things from the receiver, who was taken 20th overall in the 2023 draft.

Everett 8-year-old Ryder Romano was selected to compete in the prestigious Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament. (Photo courtesy of Brittany Walker)
Everett 8-year-old selected to prestigious hockey tournament

Ryder Romano will play at the Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament on July 1-7 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon (21) celebrates a stop of Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (20) during the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Nov. 30, 2023. The Cowboys won, 41-35. (Tom Fox / Tribune News Service)
Captain of the Seahawks defense? Why it could be Witherspoon

The talented second-year cornerback brought ‘outrageous energy’ to Seattle’s minicamp.

Drew Bryson, the new Arlington boys basketball head coach, at Arlington High School on Tuesday, June 11, 2024. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Arlington taps alum Bryson to continue boys hoops tradition

The former Eagles star succeeds Nick Brown as Arlington’s head coach.

Why Seahawks are joining NFL trend with joint practices

Seattle will conduct practices with the Tennessee Titans prior to their preseason game.

Seattle Storm head coach Noelle Quinn on the sidelines June 15, 2023, during a game against the Las Vegas Aces in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt / Las Vegas Review-Journal, file)
As WNBA exposure grows, Storm content to quietly stack wins

Amid the Caitlin Clark-fueled buzz, Seattle has won seven of its past eight.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.