By Ray Hamill — The Eureka City Schools District voted this past week to extend distance learning through January 22, leaving local sports fans wondering just how that could affect the H-DNL scheduling.
The league is currently scheduled to begin sports activity in December, with three shortened sports seasons running through June.
With the Loggers not returning to in-person classes until at least late January, however, it remains to be seen just what that means for the rest of the H-DNL and whether the Loggers will be able to compete before that.
Eureka High Athletic Director Kristie Christensen will meet with the school administration within the next couple of weeks to address the issue.
“This is a situation that is not unique to just Eureka,” H-DNL commissioner Jack Lakin said. “Other districts throughout the state are facing the same circumstance as they extend the time frame for distance learning.”
Lakin added that the decision on whether schools will compete in sports if they are still on distance learning will be up to the individual school districts and that if a number of them decide against competing then the league will revisit the scheduling.
Loggers’ conditioning program
When Christensen meets with the school administration, she will also discuss the possibility of the Eureka student athletes beginning some type of conditioning program similar to several other H-DNL schools.
Among the H-DNL schools, Fortuna, Ferndale and St. Bernard’s are all currently holding in-person classes and all have some type of restricted conditioning/practice program for their student athletes under way.
McKinleyville, Arcata and Del Norte are still on distance learning but each also has conditioning programs for their student athletes either under way or about to begin.
Concerned Eureka High students and parents held a protest outside the district offices on Thursday morning in the wake of this week’s decision, including some who are anxious to see a return to sports activity of some type.
The H-DNL athletic directors also met this past week to discuss the framework for a mostly all-local schedule, which will go before the league for approval before the end of the month.
The framework proposes a start date of December 7 for basketball and cross country, with those two sports slated to be completed by January 30, meaning the Loggers would have to compete almost the entire season while still on distance learning.
The second of the three shortened seasons, which includes football, soccer and volleyball, is slated to begin on February 1, although football is slated to begin a week earlier and include a maximum of eight games for each team.
The final season, which includes the traditional spring sports, is proposed to get under way on April 12 in line with the rest of the North Coast Section, which means the local teams will be eligible for the postseason.
With the exception of wrestling and postseason spring sports, the H-DNL will feature an all-local schedule and teams will not travel out of the area.
The league is also proposing to hold the annual Dick Niclai tournaments in basketball, as well as a season-ending jamboree in volleyball.