When the Central Coast Section confirmed in late July that it would consolidate the three sports seasons into two and delay the start of fall sports until winter due to the pandemic, it put athletic directors and coaches at local high schools in redo mode as far as scheduling.
A month later, the revised schedules for Los Altos and Mountain View high school teams competing in what CCS has labeled “Season 1” – football, volleyball, water polo, cross-country and field hockey – were nearly complete, their athletic directors told the Town Crier last week.
“Our schedules are pretty much set,” Mountain View AD Shelley Smith said. “There was a little hiccup with volleyball, so we haven’t put that one (online) yet. But once we get that, we’ll be able to post all the fall sports schedules.”
Los Altos AD Michelle Noeth said the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League schedules for Season 1 were approved Aug. 20 and now they “are currently being worked on by our coaches to include their preseason games.”
The CCS will allow Season 1 teams to begin practicing Dec. 14 and face opponents as soon as Dec. 28.
The football season kicks off Jan. 8 – four months later than originally scheduled – and runs into April for teams that make the CCS finals. As head coach of a Mountain View football team looking to make the playoffs for the third year in a row, Smith is excited but also anxious about what lies ahead.
“We’ve only got one shot at it,” he said, referring to CCS commissioner David Grissom’s statement that football and most other Season 1 sports would not be pushed into Season 2 if the virus surges in January. “I think the next few months are critical.”
The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District is allowing Season 1 teams to resume on-campus conditioning Tuesday, Smith added, as long as public health orders are being followed. That means athletes will be permitted to train outdoors, 6 feet apart.
“For football, we’re going to start with two days per week,” said Smith, whose players are currently doing distance weight training. “When we get closer to December, we’ll increase it.”
Noeth intimated that all the teams at Los Altos are eager to get to work.
“As of now, coaches are able to do Zoom sessions with athletes. It has been challenging because coaches want to coach, athletes want to train, and I feel for both groups,” she said. “COVID-19 has really put a strain on what we can and cannot do.”
Noeth added that she’s even more concerned with preparing for and playing Season 2, which includes baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, tennis, track, lacrosse, swimming, golf, wrestling, gymnastics and badminton.
“The toughest part will be Season 2, when those schedules come out with the immense amount of teams we will have in season,” she said. “Figuring out practices (and) games will be the ultimate challenge. We are limited on space, and everyone will have to be flexible and work together.”
Smith anticipates his school hosting games and meets Mondays through Saturdays during Season 2, which starts as early as March 8 for some teams and runs as late as June 19 for others.
“The spring is going to be crazy,” said Smith, who hopes to post the Spartans’ Season 2 schedules online by the end of the month. “Winter shouldn’t be too bad, but spring is going to be absolutely ridiculous.”