From live screaming to livestreaming: schools installing cameras for sports

Football
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier File Photo
If students at Los Altos and Mountain View highs aren’t allowed to attend games this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be able to stream them on cameras being installed at both schools.

By Pete Borello
Staff Writer/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The installation of cameras to livestream sporting events at Los Altos and Mountain View highs couldn’t have come at a better time.

The automated cameras slated to be installed in the stadiums and gyms at both schools this summer might be the only way fans will be able to watch home football games and volleyball matches during the fall season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“With so much uncertainty about how COVID-19 will influence sports and how we view them this fall, the cameras could provide an unplanned benefit should games be forced to be played without spectators,” said Los Altos High School Athletic Boosters member Sam Player, who is spearheading the installation effort at that school.

The camera project has been in the works for more than a year at Los Altos, according to Player, whose wife Angela is co-president of the booster club. Mountain View got the ball rolling in December, boosters president Brett Schiller said, encouraged by then-principal and new Central Coast Section commissioner Dave Grissom. Schiller added that it wasn’t hard to get the district to approve the project once both schools were on board and their respective booster clubs agreed to fund the $2,000 installation costs.

“The timing is very good,” he said. “We started working on it with the district before COVID kicked in because we saw it as a nice addition to athletics and the school overall. Once COVID kicked in, it created a whole other possibility. If games aren’t played with crowds, it will allow everyone to watch them at home.”

Everyone with a subscription, that is. The games will be streamed online via the NFHS Network (nfhsnetwork.com), a partner of the National Federation of State High School Associations. Subscriptions range from $10.99 (monthly) to $69.99 (annually). Subscribers not only get to watch their teams – live or on demand – but also the games of any participating school.

“NFHS already has several schools in the SCVAL and other CCS leagues as part of the program, so subscribers can view the Eagles at many road games as well,” Player said. “Once a school recruits enough subscribers to the network to hit a certain threshold, NFHS will donate back some of the incremental subscription revenue to the school athletic program.”

Schiller said that his club is considering a promotion that would include a three-month subscription for those who join the boosters.

The NFHS Network doesn’t just broadcast varsity games; Schiller noted that all levels of every sport played in the stadium or gym during the school year will be streamed. In the near future, he said the boosters hope to install cameras on the pool deck for water polo and swimming, along with at the baseball and softball fields.

“After we get this running, we’re going to look into that,” Schiller said. “We’re calling this the first tier of it.”

Two cameras will be installed at each school. They come with desktop computers for production integration and video processing, according to the NFHS Network website, and scoring devices that plug into the score-boards. The high-definition cameras – made by Pixellot – are weatherproof and capable of displaying the game score and the time remaining in an inset on the screen.

“The cameras are permanently installed inside the gym and above the football press box,” Player said, “and will follow the action without need for a human operator, panning and zooming as appropriate from a sideline perspective.”
The streams won’t just benefit fans who can’t make it to a game but on-site coaches as well.

“The footage also automatically integrates with the coaching software (Hudl) many of the teams already use,” Player said, “so games are instantly available for analysis at the conclusion of each event.”
Mountain View athletic director and football coach Shelley Smith is excited to get the system – and not just from a coaching perspective.

“(It’s) great for people out of the area or not allowed to come (to games) due to COVID protocol,” he said.

Smith doesn’t know the exact date the cameras will be installed at Mountain View but expects them to be in place before school starts. Los Altos’ cameras will be installed Aug. 5, Player said.

LAHS distance runners Cohan and Sage commit to Harvey Mudd

LAHS track
Courtesy of Adam Cohan
Adam Sage, second from left, and Adam Cohan, third from left, commemorate their success at a cross-country meet last fall.

By Marie Godderis
Town Crier Editorial Intern

For many students, graduation is a time when classmates embark on new journeys. Two newly graduated seniors from Los Altos High School who share the same first name and a passion for running will be taking a similar path in the fall.

Adam Cohan and Adam Sage plan to run cross-country and track at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont.

Although they attended different elementary schools, Cohan and Sage have known each other since they were kids.

“We met one day at the JCC pool and hung out,” Sage said. “Then afterwards, we kept bumping into each other in weird places. So Adam would have a trumpet lesson right after my piano lesson with the same teacher, or we would go to Tin Pot in Los Altos and just like, ‘Oh, it’s that Adam again.’ We went to the same taekwondo place for a while, and it was just a bunch of spots where we met over and over again.”

At the start of their sophomore year track season, they bumped into each other again. Since then, Cohan and Sage have run together for the Eagles, sharing many memorable experiences along the way. Cohan has been on the varsity boys cross-country and track team for three years, and Sage for four.

In their final cross-country season, the varsity boys team won league. Cohan and Sage advanced to the state cross-country championships in Clovis, where they both set personal records and Sage set the school record for the course. Sage was voted team MVP and Cohan was named Most Improved.

One day they won’t forget is Dec. 13. The two Adams were getting ready to hang out that night when they both received an unexpected notice that their admission results were available – two days earlier than expected.

“Adam was coming over in half an hour,” Sage said. “I got my response and I texted him and he immediately responded back, like, ‘Yes, I’m in as well!’ And then we both got to celebrate because he was coming over soon. It was really great.”

Cohan and Sage were accepted through the early-decision program. Although students apply undeclared to Harvey Mudd, the boys have an idea of what they want to study: Sage is interested in computer science; Cohan plans to major in math. They toured Harvey Mudd together several times, both drawn to the school’s balance of academics and athletics.

“When I visited, I found something quite similar that I found with the team at Los Altos, where everyone there is pretty fast and cares about running and is competitive,” Cohan said. “But it’s also (NCAA) Division III, so everyone there is still a student first.”

Cohan and Sage both said they are excited to spend the next four years running together and sharing new experiences in college.

“Obviously, one of the biggest worries about going into college is finding a group of people you feel connected with, and it’s really great going in already knowing that you’ve got part of that group set up,” Sage said.

Athletes get back to work at local schools

By Joe Perrino
Town Crier Editorial Intern

Limited workouts for fall sports are underway at Mountain View and Los Altos highs, and that’s welcome news for Mountain View athletic director Shelley Smith.

“It’s long overdue,” said Smith, who also serves as football coach. “It’s great for the kids, getting them out of the house and staying active. I’m glad we were able to get it through.”

The Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District has allowed practice-related activities since June 22 – with restrictions – as the Town Crier reported last month. No more than 12 athletes per coach are permitted on campus at a time to participate in the workouts. Athletes are only allowed to take part in one sport; playing on a club team simultaneously is prohibited.

This is the first time since the schools closed March 13 that sanctioned athletic activities are taking place on MVLA campuses. That’s why Smith said having a fall season is so important.

“It happened so fast that we didn’t have time to adapt,” he said of the abrupt ending to the spring sports season. “I feel for our seniors – we saw what happened last year – so I want them to get their senior season in.”

The schools should soon get an idea of how the fall sports may look. The California Interscholastic Federation July 20 is set to come out with protocols for the 2020-21 school year. Game and full practice scenarios remain up in the air, Smith said.

Once the CIF releases that information, Smith said he expects more sports will be allowed to begin their summer workouts. Usually around this time, basketball teams are playing summer league to prepare for their seasons, which begin in November, but a combination of COVID-19 and construction-related issues have kept them off the court.

“Our gyms and weight rooms aren’t in use, and both our schools lost their outdoor basketball courts due to construction,” Smith said.

Despite the reduced amount of practice space, Smith said it hasn’t stopped fall sports from returning to training. He noted that Mountain View has begun implementing safety measures such as frequent cleaning of the facilities and keeping workouts to small groups. Smith said the school has also been in contact with Riddell, Mountain View’s football equipment provider, about new helmets to help protect players from COVID-19.

“Riddell is looking to add a face-mask type of thing,” he said. “They have face shields on the eyes and they’re looking at extending it down to the whole mask.”

Such precautions have made Smith hopeful that the fall season will happen.

“Everybody that is involved in the decisions – from the state level to the CCS level to the district level – sees the value of athletics, and they’re going to work to get in a season of some sort,” he said. “I just don’t know what it’s going to look like.”

At Los Altos, athletic director Michelle Noeth said the Eagles will continue their district-sanctioned training schedule and assume the fall season will go on as planned until they receive more information from the CIF. Athletes need to submit proof-of-physical forms by Aug. 7.

Sports on the Side

SFHS grad Johnson returns to NBA

St. Francis High graduate Tyler Johnson has signed with the Brooklyn Nets for the planned restart of the NBA season July 30 in Orlando, Fla. The 6-foot-3 combo guard is in his sixth NBA season. Undrafted out of Fresno State, the Mountain View native previously played for the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns.

Local high schools seek coaches

Los Altos High seeks head coaches for varsity girls basketball and wrestling, both winter sports, and cheer/rally, which runs fall through winter. To apply and for more information, contact athletic director Michelle Noeth at 960-8811, ext. 2023, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Mountain View High seeks a head coach for girls golf, a fall sport. To apply and for more information, contact athletic director Shelley Smith at 940-4600, ext. 1421, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

CIF offers newsletter for athletes’ parents

The California Interscholastic Federation, the governing body for the state’s high school sports, issues a free monthly newsletter via email for parents/guardians of student-athletes in California. The newsletter aims to keep parents informed of issues like health and safety, eligibility and upcoming state championship events. To subscribe and for more information, visit cifstate.org.

TC invites readers  to submit story ideas

If you have an idea for a local sports story or would like to comment on the section, contact sports editor Pete Borello. He can be reached four ways: by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; by phone at 948-9000, ext. 315; by fax at 948-9213; or by regular mail at 138 Main St., Los Altos, CA 94022.


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