Traditional Spring Sports Move to March 15, Winter Sports to April 26

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ON THE MOVE: The WIAA’s Updated Athletic Schedule Gives all Sports a Start Date After Season 1 Was Announced Jan. 6

The WIAA announced late Tuesday night that it’s moving traditional spring sports up to Season 2 with a March 15 start date, while traditional winter sports move back to Season 3 and begin April 26.

Season 2 sports include baseball, softball, track and field, boys soccer, golf and tennis. That season will begin with preseason practices on March 15 and will end on May 1.

Season 3 sports include the high-risk indoor sports of basketball and wrestling, along with bowling, boys swim and dive, cheerleading , gymnastics and dance/drill. That season starts with preseason practices April 26 and will end on June 12.

The announcement comes two weeks after the WIAA’s announcement of moving traditional fall sports to Season 1 with a Feb. 1 preseason-practice start date and a season ending March 20. Season 1 sports include football, volleyball, cross country, girls and Class 1B/2B boys soccer, girls swim and dive, slowpitch softball, golf (alternate) and tennis (alternate).

“Based on the risk levels assigned to traditional winter activities compared to traditional spring activities, the executive board made the decision that those spring activities will have the opportunity to play much earlier than winter activities,” WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman said in the Jan. 19 press release. “The board will continue to monitor the status of activities over the coming months to ensure that those traditional spring sports receive a chance to participate.”

The WIAA also gave leagues and districts around the state the flexibility to reschedule their seasons to best fit their local communities.

The updated seasons come after Gov. Jay Inslee’s Jan. 5 announcement of a two-phase Healthy Washington plan, which allows most high school sports to play games once a school’s region is in Phase 2. The plan breaks the state into eight regions and uses metrics to determine when the counties in each region can move through phases.

All the regions begin in Phase 1 on Monday, Jan. 11, and Lewis County is in the four-county West region with Thurston, Grays Harbor and Pacific counties.

In Phase 1, low-risk indoor sports may practice in groups of no more than five, while low and moderate risk outdoor sports may practice in larger groups.

In Phase 2, moderate-risk indoor sports and all outdoor sports will be allowed to play games, with a maximum of 200 spectators. Tournaments are not allowed. Low- and moderate-risk indoor sports may also hold competitions.

Each region must meet four metrics before moving into Phase 2. Those include a 10 percent decreasing trend in case rates during the previous two-week period; a 10 percent decrease in COVID-19 hospital admission rates during the previous two-week period; an ICU occupancy rate that is less than 90 percent; and a test positivity rate of less than 10 percent.

The West Region came close to hitting all four metric numbers in the latest Roadmap to Recovery Report released by the state Department of Health Friday, Jan. 15:

• Trend in 14-day rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population, Dec. 6–Dec. 19 vs. Dec. 20–Jan. 2: -30 percent (-1 percent last week)

• Trend in 14-day rate of new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 population, Dec. 13–Dec. 26 vs. Dec. 27–Jan. 9: -7 percent (+3 percent last week)

• Average seven-day percent occupancy of ICU staffed beds Jan. 3–Jan. 9: West: 82 percent (86 percent last week). Statewide: 81 percent (80 percent)

• Seven-day percent positive rate of COVID-19 tests, Dec. 20–Dec. 26: 8 percent (10 percent last week). Statewide 8 percent (9 percent)

Sports will also maintain their previously assigned risk levels; however, the level of participation for each activity will vary in Phase 1 or Phase 2.

High-risk sports determined by the state Department of Health include basketball, cheerleading with contact, dance with contact, football and wrestling. Moderate-risk sports include baseball, bowling, gymnastics, soccer, softball and volleyball. Low-risk sports are cross country, golf, sideline/no-contact cheerleading and dance, swimming and diving, tennis and track and field.