Highline’s fall sports teams may be back in action as early as Jan. 2, 2021, NWAC officials say.
The Northwest Athletic Conference, of which Highline is a part, has pushed all sports ahead to winter and spring as they attempt to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will begin with quarantine of student-athletes and then progress to competition,” said Marco Azurdia, executive director of the NWAC.
Highline normally fields teams in six fall sports: men’s and women’s soccer; volleyball; wrestling; and men’s and women’s basketball.
“Basketball, soccer, volleyball will all start in January. Golf and tennis will start at the end of Winter Quarter and run into spring. Wrestling has yet to be determined,” said John Dunn, Highline athletic director.
As for wrestling, Highline’s team participates in the NJCAA, the national governing body of two-year college athletic programs.
“As of now there is a plan in place to participate but it will be based on many factors related to COVID,” Dunn said.
Azurdia said the league has been very careful in planning a return to live athletic competition.
They are “Constantly talking with our medical people, student-athletes, administration, and others as we plan moving forward,” he said.
Dunn said the pandemic shutdown is unlike anything he has experienced before.
“This is my 30th year at Highline and as you can imagine, we have never seen anything like this. Basically, I am trying to support the student athletes and coaches while emphasizing the importance of academics,” Dunn said. “We will continue to support them academically but we may not be able to provide them completion in ‘20-‘21.”
Practices will be limited at first, Dunn said. “All sports will begin with five-person workouts,” he said. “These will be under strict guidelines set forth by the college and the NWAC. This will be all that happens until a final decision is made on participation this academic year.”