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Preparation begins for fall sports
Greg Magni
Greg Magni

High school, college and professional sports seasons were postponed and/or canceled this spring due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Student-athletes registered to attend Ceres Unified’s two public high schools—Ceres High and Central Valley—this fall received positive news last week regarding preparation for the upcoming season.

They were granted permission to begin summer conditioning workouts this week with restrictions.

Families were notified through ParentSquare on June 10.

“This is step one in the process,” Central Valley Athletic Director Greg Magni said. “It’s very minimal. But we’re happy we can start doing something. The key is we’re starting to get back to being around each other. That’s important for the kids.”

“We can make it work,” said Derrick Goblirsch, new head coach of Central Valley’s football program.

“We found out during a Zoom meeting,” Ceres High senior football player Amare Padilla said. “I’m excited. It’s a step in the right direction.”

The CIF, which governs high school athletics in California, released physical activity/training guidelines for summer conditioning.

A physical examination waiver must be completed prior to participating.

Locker rooms will remain closed.

Conditioning and skill-based drills must be staged outdoors.

Sports-specific equipment will not be allowed.

Athletes are required to bring their own water bottles.

Social distancing will be practiced as no more than 25 athletes can receive instruction from one coach.

“I’m excited,” Goblirsch said. “We get to get together face to face and build team camaraderie. That’s important in football.”

“Something is better than nothing,” Padilla added.

The CIF has yet to decide if and when fall sports will be played during the 2020-21 academic year.

 “As our member schools begin planning for the reopening of school, the CIF, in collaboration with our 10 Sections, will be determining by July 20 if Fall Sports will continue as currently scheduled,” CIF officials stated in a June 12 press release. “The CIF is prepared to offer alternative calendars if it is determined by July 20 that Fall sports may not start as scheduled due to ongoing public health and safety concerns.”

“I think we’ll have sports in some capacity,” Ceres High Athletic Director John Bussard said. “Will it be the same as it has been in the past? I highly doubt it.”

“We don’t know what it’s going to look like,” Magni added. “We’re at the mercy of what we’re told to do by the higher-ups. We’re waiting for more information.”

Bussard and Magni finished tentative scheduling for fall competition, transportation and officiating several months ago.

“None of that means anything until a decision has been made,” Bussard said.

“You have to prepare and adjust,” Magni said. 

The fall sports lineup includes: football, cross country, water polo, girls golf, girls tennis and girls volleyball.

The CIF’s 201 member schools compete in 26 different leagues.