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Conditioning suspended at high schools
Isaiah Hidalgo trains
Central Valley and Ceres High suspended all in-person conditioning activities until after the winter break due to safety concerns related to COVID-19. Pictured: Hawks’ senior football player Isaiah Hidalgo. - photo by DALE BUTLER/ Courier file photo

Ceres High School and Central Valley have suspended conditioning activities for sports until January.

The announcement was made on Dec. 2.

“The mutual decision by our district and high school athletic directors coincided with preparations for finals next week, as well as CIF’s (California Interscholastic Federation’s) announcement that all full practice and competition start dates are on hold until updated youth sports guidance is issued by the CDPH (California Department of Public Health),” said Beth Jimenez, communications specialist for Ceres Unified School District.

“Out of an abundance of caution due to the rising numbers in Stanislaus County of positive COVID cases and the recent statement released by the CIF to further delay the start of athletics until the New Year, Central Valley High School has decided to cease all in-person conditioning until after the Winter Break,” Central Valley Athletic Director Greg Magni stated on the Central Valley Hawks Twitter page. “This will allow student-athletes to focus on the end of the semester. Further announcements will be forthcoming with specific dates and times for the restart.”

"The thing that sucks is there are so many questions and there are no answers for any of them. It wouldn’t be a complete surprise if we didn’t have a season. It would be devastating ...."
Amare Padilla

“Coach (Clinton) Goblirsch told us,” Ceres High senior football player Amare Padilla said. “I wasn’t surprised because everything was closing down again. The thing that sucks is there are so many questions and there are no answers for any of them. It wouldn’t be a complete surprise if we didn’t have a season. It would be devastating to me and a whole bunch of other guys and parents. My family is looking forward to seeing me play and experiencing senior night.”

The CIF condensed three seasons of high school athletics—fall, winter and spring—into two seasons on July 22 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

All practice and competition start times for Season 1 sports, including football, water polo, cross country and girls volleyball, were put on hold on Dec. 1.

“Of course it’s disappointing,” Magni said. “But it’s a decision that had to be made. It wasn’t a surprise. We saw what was going on in the state. The Sac-Joaquin Section office will give us guidance on how our calendar will look moving forward. They’ll probably have plenty of drafts prepared. We’ll adjust as needed.”

“I found out on Twitter,” Central Valley senior football/baseball player Isaiah Hidalgo said. “Again. That was my reaction. It’s pretty frustrating. We had a date to look forward to. Now, it’s being pushed back.”

Practice and competition will not be allowed until Gov. Newsom and California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly provide new return-to-play guidelines.

The state postponed the issuance of its updated youth sports guidance due to the continued surge in COVID-19 infections.

Stanislaus County moved into the “Purple” tier under California’s color-coded coronavirus reopening system on Nov. 16.

Football was supposed to kick off on Jan. 8.

Volleyball (Dec. 29), cross country (Dec. 28) and water polo (Dec. 28) were supposed to get underway in December.

Season 2 sports include soccer, tennis, wrestling, basketball, swimming, baseball, softball, golf, track and field and boys volleyball.

Soccer is scheduled to begin on March 1.

Tennis (March 8), Wrestling (March 8), basketball (March 9), swimming (March 22), baseball (March 22), softball (March 22), golf (March 29) and track and field (March 29) have later projected start dates.

“We can’t work out for the time being,” said Mike Rodriguez, who coaches boys basketball, and boys and girls tennis at Central Valley. “We were pretty much all expecting that. The (COVID) numbers weren’t trending the right way. We’re back to where we were in March.”