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May 23, 2022

Covid-19 surge wreaks havoc on high school sports schedule

The recent Covid surge has led to mass cancellations for winter high school sports teams throughout the state. 

Teams in Santa Clara and San Benito County have been hit particularly hard this week as several teams couldn’t play their scheduled games due to positive tests and Covid-related protocols. 

Depending on the situation, some of the games will be rescheduled and contested. Those that are not will be ruled a no contest. Due to the fluid nature of when Covid test results come in, game postponements can literally occur while driving to the home event site. 

That’s exactly what happened with the Sobrato High wrestling team on Jan. 5, the scheduled date of its league opener at Evergreen Valley High. The Bulldogs were only a couple of miles away from the San Jose school when they were notified the match was off, due to Covid-related issues from Evergreen’s end. 

Sobrato coach Joel Valencia said the teams hope to schedule a makeup date in the first week of February. 

Sobrato and Evergreen Valley are the best teams in the Blossom Valley League’s Mount Hamilton Division and both are ranked in the top 10 in the Central Coast Section. Valencia said everyone has to deal with the circumstances and not worry about things out of their control. 

“We’re all vaccinated and done everything we could do from the perspective of what we could control,” he said. “We try to be as safe as we can and we’re going to have Covid cases and hopefully people don’t get too sick.”

On the same night Sobrato was supposed to open league play, the Gilroy and San Benito wrestling teams were set to do the same in the Pacific Coast League’s Gabilan Division—against each other. However, Gilroy had to cancel the match due to Covid protocols just hours before the 6:30pm start time. 

In girls basketball, Los Gatos and Christopher had to shut down team-related activities for the week of Jan. 3, and they hope to get back on the court next week. The list isn’t exhaustive, but other area teams that had games cancelled included the Los Gatos and Sobrato boys soccer teams, and the Gavilan College men’s basketball team had both of its conference games scrapped due to Covid-related matters. 

The mass cancellation of games put prep sports teams in a tough predicament as there are only so many days to reschedule them. However, schools got a little more flexibility from the California Interscholastic Federation on Jan. 5. 

The CIF announced that it is temporarily suspending a bylaw that doesn’t allow student-athletes to compete on Sunday. Due to the impact of the pandemic, the rule will remain suspended for the remainder of the 2022 winter sports season. 

Schools can mutually agree to use Sunday as a possible day to reschedule any postponed games, according to a press release issued on Jan. 5. 

Note: Reporter Juan Reyes contributed to this report

Emanuel Lee
Sports Editor of the Gilroy Dispatch, Hollister Free Lance and Morgan Hill Times. PR of 3:13.40 at the 2019 CIM. Hebrews 12:1.

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