2019 NBL Redwood Division

Ready to roll – Runners raced out of the starting gate at the 2019 NBL Redwood Division Cross Country Championships at Spring Lake in Santa Rosa. After months of waiting, high school and other youth level athletes in certain sports will see a return to competition next month.

With stay-at-home order lifted, purple tier athletes get green light

Thousands of California athletes from youth to high school level received the news they were waiting for on Monday when Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted the statewide stay-at-home order.

The long-awaited ruling opens the door for certain sports to begin official practices on Feb. 1, pending a final OK from North Bay League principals and the North Coast Section Board of Managers.

School administrators, coaches and athletes have navigated a moving goal post due to the ever-changing status of the COVID-19 pandemic for the better part of 10 months, but are poised to hit the ground running now that the green light has been given. 

“It’s time to get back and play,” said Windsor High School Athletic Director Jamie Williams. “I’m excited to be a part of this and hope for community support in adhering to any guidelines we must follow in order to do it. Our coaches along with myself will be the best point of communication to what protocols we will need to follow and how to get involved.”

Purple Tier 1 sports to start first

With the county still mired in the restrictive purple tier, the plan is for NBL high schools to allow purple (tier 1) sports such as cross country, boys tennis and girls golf to kick things off with practices starting on Feb. 1 or 8, while purple (tier 2) sports that include track and field, swimming, girls tennis and boys golf to start on April 1. Baseball, softball and lacrosse are classified as red tier sports which require counties to be in that color tier to begin, while football, basketball, soccer, volleyball and wrestling are listed as Orange tier sports.    

A big caveat for multi-sport athletes will be in having to decide between overlapping sports seasons, per California Department of Public Health guidelines.

“This includes not only choosing for example between track and softball,  but also between club teams and your high school team,” Williams noted. “I'd venture to say that since our seasons will be brief and our bonds with our coaches and teammates are missed, many will jump at the opportunity to play for their alma mater, if given the opportunity.  Also with the lesser chance of seeing full seasons for all of our orange and yellow tier sports (football and basketball), I’m hopeful we have students try new ventures in sports that we can offer this year.” 

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