H-DNL eyes a return to some sports in two weeks 

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – The H-DNL cross country season could begin in a couple of weeks.

By Ray Hamill — The H-DNL appears ready to move forward with a plan to begin competition in four different sports in the coming weeks.

The league athletic directors met on Friday and put together a proposal that would see some of the least restricted sports return as early as Feb. 1.

The proposal must still be approved by the league principals at Wednesday’s meeting. The schedule must also get clearance from local health officials.

The North Coast Section announced this past week that member leagues can schedule their own seasons, but can only compete in the sports allowed by health officials in whatever COVID tier a particular county finds itself in.

According to the most recent state youth sports guidelines, under the purple or most restricted tier, which both Humboldt and Del Norte counties are in, only low-contact outdoor sports like cross country, track and field, golf and tennis will be permitted.

With that in mind, the H-DNL athletic directors have proposed getting the calendar started with those particular sports, although the league wants to avoid scheduling cross country and track and field at the same time because they feature so many of the same athletes.

The proposal is for a five-week season for cross country, girls golf and boys tennis to run from Feb. 1 to March 6, followed by a five-week season for track and field, boys golf and girls tennis, which would run to April 10.

The league will address schedules for the other sports in the coming weeks, as the two local counties move to less restricted tiers.

The H-DNL football season must begin my mid-March or the season will have to be canceled.

According to the most recent state youth sports guidelines, football cannot kick off until a county reaches the orange or second least restricted tier, while the NCS has mandated that any football season must be completed by April 17 for the 2021 fall season to begin on Aug. 9.

Because of that, the H-DNL is looking at a deadline of mid-March to begin the football season, which would allow for the 10 mandatory days of preseason practice and a minimum of three games per team.

If Humboldt and Del Norte counties reach the orange tier before mid-March, additional games could be played.

It also remains to be seen if the state will clear the way for a quicker return to all sports after Friday’s statewide rallies in support of such a move, which appear to have been well attended everywhere.

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