Sports faces possible false start as state and school leaders work to jumpstart practices and a condensed competition season


Junior varsity girls water polo players don’t pause for reflection as they start their practice Nov. 3, one of many Northgate sports camps underway since late summer as teams await a delayed start to the fall sports season.

Sean Donelan, Staff Writer

Good things are worth the wait. That’s the attitude of hundreds of Northgate athletes, who heard on Tuesday that their official practices and sports season would recommence.

On Dec. 1 the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) and Northgate athletics department released information concerning the start of the fall practice and spring seasons. 

Nearly 200 students and parents attended a virtual meeting the same night with school and sports administrators. At the meeting, Athletic Director Ben Ballard announced that the athletic department will be pushing back the official restarting of the fall sports season from Dec. 7 to after Jan. 1 as stated by the CIF, but that teams may continue their training programs.

The CIF has stated its plan to begin competitive seasons and full practices after Jan. 1. Both the decisions of the CIF and the Northgate Athletics department are subject to change and are not final, as a statewide lockdown may occur due to rising cases and hospitalization due to COVID-19.

The fate of the coming seasons rests on the state and the rate of infections and hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Many are watching Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has indicated in recent days the possibility of a shelter at home order due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Northgate leaders were unsure what this would mean for sports teams, practice or even training clinics that have been taking place since summer. However, this has not stopped the Northgate athletics program from releasing information concerning the restarting of fall practices and the spring season.

The NHS athletics dept. has also decided to condense the three seasons into two for the 2020-2021 school year. However, the number of contests per sport is the same, even though the duration of the season is much shorter. 

The beginning of practice for the following fall sports is as follows:

Sport Date of first practice
Cross Country (Boys & Girls) December 14, 2020
Football December 14, 2020
Cheer December 14, 2020
Volleyball (Boys & Girls) December 14, 2020
Water Polo (Boys & Girls) December 14, 2020

The athletics department also released the following practice dates for the spring season:

Sport Date of first practice
Baseball March 15, 2021
Basketball (Boys & Girls) March 15, 2021
Golf (Boys & Girls) March 15, 2021
Lacrosse (Boys & Girls) March 15, 2021
Soccer (Boys & Girls) February 22, 2021
Softball March 15, 2021
Swimming and Diving (Boys & Girls) March 8, 2021
Tennis (Boys & Girls) March 8, 2021
Track & Field (Boys & Girls) March 15, 2021
Wrestling (Boys & Girls) March 8, 2021

Northgate administrators emphasized that information is subject to change, depending on local and state updates. Meanwhile, they urge athletes for all sports to register on the athletic website, and to complete the required physical exam and forms so teams will be ready.