Over the last several weeks, the burning question has been “Will the 2020 high school spring sports season ever resume?” Friday afternoon that question was answered by the California Interscholastic Federation and the answer was: “no.”
In a statement that many student-athletes, coaches, parents and spectators were anticipating, the CIF followed the advice of California Governor Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti sent out a press release online April 3 confirming the cancellation of the season.
“We understand this is disappointing for everyone involved in education-based athletics and empathize with our student-athletes and all who are impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. As always, our top priority is everyone’s ongoing health and safety during this challenging time, and we all look forward to the day when education-based athletics resumes,” said Nocetti in the press release.
Prior to the news breaking Oakdale High School swimming coach Russ Van Cleave said that he felt the season was lost regardless of the outcome of the April 3 CIF meeting.
“The kids have missed so much valuable time already and it would not make sense to have them come back. There is a reason that the season is 14 weeks, it takes so much work and preparation to have a successful season. I just feel bad for my seniors. They had a real chance of going out with many records that were within reach.”
Longtime softball head coach Larry Loger also commented on the issue.
“I miss everything about softball; the field work, the practices, the games and spending time working toward a command goal and most of all I miss the players,” Loger noted. “Watching them compete, achieve their goals, and grow as young women. The greatest thing about our sport is that it truly is a game of life. We have always told our girls that we will spend our energy on the things that we can control. We have three very good teams (freshmen/sophomore, junior varsity and varsity). Our motto is there are two things that you can control each day; attitude and effort. That has never been more important than during this trying time.”
Oakdale won the 2019 Section Championship last season and were undefeated in the limited action they saw in 2020.
Mustangs baseball coach Chris Henry said that he is disappointed for all, but especially for the senior student-athletes.
“I feel terrible for our seniors. Hopefully the others will use this time appropriately and focus on what is important, their immediate family and the lessons to be learned from this.”
Boys tennis coach Grant Miller was emotional following the news.
“It’s been rough. As mostly juniors last year, these guys took second in Valley Oak League and were runner-ups in Sections. We were undefeated so far this season and then the pandemic hit,” the coach said. “I was devastated when the news hit. I had a really hard time coping. I felt snake bitten and at the same time I feel bad because people are dying in our country and around the world.”