Story by Katharine Florence
Photo by Ella Jayasekera
CIF announced its plans for the 2020-21 Athletic Calendar this past July. Rather than canceling it, the commission decided to push back fall sports and create a two-season schedule. The fall season will start at the initial winter season start time and the spring season will consist of 10 total sports.
To accommodate these changes, CIF has decided to standardize all seasons a maximum of 72 days. However, there is no change in the amount of competitions teams are allowed to participate in. Section championships will continue as usual but Regional and State Championships will be streamlined to no longer than one week once Southern Section Championships have concluded.
Fall sports include the traditional boys water polo, girls volleyball, cross country, and football, as well as girls water polo and boys volleyball. The spring season will add soccer, basketball, wrestling, girls tennis, and girls golf to the original spring sports: badminton, swim, baseball, softball, and track and field.
Because of this new season structure, many multi-sport athletes will be forced to choose between two or more sports. By having multiple players subjectively prioritize one sport over another, talent will be spread thin, impacting overall team success. Junior Allysan Tse once dominated on the hardwood and in the pool, but will now have to decide between basketball and swimming.
“I’m sad because as a dual athlete, it sucks having to choose between two sports. But I am thankful that we get to have sports this year,” Tse said. “Since I cannot play in both swim and basketball, I am most likely going to high school basketball and club swim.”
In addition, the spring season will begin directly after the fall campaign. Those who are lucky enough remain dual athletes may struggle physically and academically without the typical offseason between different sports. Senior long distance runner, Lindsay Michels, participates in both cross country and track and field and will be experiencing season overlaps firsthand.
“This change makes it impossible to have a rest between cross country and track. Runners need a two-week break in between seasons or they’re at risk for injury from prolonged stress on their body, and now the first track meet is right next to the end of cross country CIF,” Michels said.
There is also common frustration about the number of days teams can practice. Everyone has a uniform maximum number of days for their season, regardless of sport or structure.
“I believe our normal season is usually four months long,” senior wrestler Roxanne Lynch said. “this gives us a much shorter time to prepare and improve our skills… I just think this is a really unfortunate way to begin the year, especially for us seniors.”
Athletic Director Anthony Chan also has some concerns about the new official calendar and its effects, one of which being a strain on available facilities and officials.
“Boys and girls tennis are now falling in the same season. The [Rio Hondo] League and I are working on finding a way to make it work, as we only have so many tennis courts which would need to have four levels of tennis in a season instead of the usual two levels of varsity or JV at a time,” Chan explains. “Now, boys and girls volleyball occur in the same season. The officials for boys and girls volleyball are usually the same, and now they are trying to cover twice the matches in a season with the same number of people.”
CIF is following guidelines from both local and state public health departments, allowing room for changes in the schedule according to public health mandates.
“Another thing is wrestling wasn’t very popular before, and if other sports are going on simultaneously, I think a very minimal amount of people would show up to our matches,” Senior wrestler Roxanne Lynch said.