H-DNL approves return to competition on Feb. 1

File photo – H-DNL cross country could see a return to competition in February.

By Ray Hamill — Local high school sports moved one step closer to a Feb. 1 return on Wednesday afternoon, when the H-DNL voted 10-1 to move ahead with the first part of a proposed calendar.

The return, which would end a shutdown of more than 10 months dating back to mid-March of last year, must still be approved by local health officials in Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity counties.

League commissioner Jack Lakin told the meeting he is hoping to hear from county health officials later today.

For now, the approved calendar is for two five-week seasons to run from Feb. 1 to April 10, featuring low-contact outdoor sports that are allowed within the purple tier by state health officials.

The first of those seasons would include cross country, girls golf and boys tennis, followed by track and field, boys golf and girls tennis in the second season.

“We’re really close to being able to make that happen,” Lakin told the meeting, while thanking everyone involved for all their time and effort since last spring in what have been extreme circumstances.

Arcata was the only school to vote against the proposal.

The golf schedules still have to be finalized, while tennis will compete twice weekly as usual with a league tournament at the end of the shortened season.

Both cross country and track and field will hold three meets each in addition to a league meet at the end of each season.

There will be no league champions crowned this year, and no all-league selections.

According to the most recent state youth sports guidelines released in mid-December, various other sports will be allowed as counties move from tier to tier, with baseball and softball permitted when we reach the red tier, followed by football, soccer and volleyball in the orange tier, and basketball and wrestling in the yellow or least restricted tier.

The league will meet again to discuss other sports schedules as we switch tiers, and schools are being encouraged to be ready to go with other sports as they are allowed.

“We want to be able to move quickly,” McKinleyville AD Dustin Dutra told the meeting.

It was suggested the league ADs will meet again within a week of any switch in tiers to immediately discuss additional schedules and options, with Ferndale AD Clint McClurg saying they need to be competing in newly allowed sports within two weeks of a change.

Other topics discussed at Wednesday’s meeting included the possibility of competing beyond the NCS deadline of June 12.

The following two weeks (June 13 to 26) were originally slated for NCS and state playoffs, but with all postseason competition canceled for the school year it could free up an additional two weeks the H-DNL might be able to take advantage of.

The NCS must also approve the proposed schedules, having last week given all member leagues the autonomy to schedule their own seasons this year.

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