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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW High school fall season athletics given the green light to return to play

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By Loren Kopff

@LorenKopff on Twitter • February 25, 2021

Athletes, coaches, parents and school administrators have been waiting for 11 months for high school athletics to resume and that time has come for some counties in California. Last Friday, the CIF-Southern Section released an update on the return to play for athletes, which included the latest adjusted case rate it received from Governor Gavin Newsom’s office and the California Department of Public Health.

For outdoor athletics to happen, a county must have a case rate of 14, or fewer, per 100,000 people. Last Friday, Los Angeles County was at 20.0 and Orange County was at 20.7. However, this past Tuesday, those numbers had dropped to 12.3 and 11.9 respectively. That means that boys and girls cross country, football, girls volleyball and boys and girls water polo can begin conditioning, practicing and playing games/events. The CIF-SS had previously cancelled all fall sports championships, but encouraged its member schools to have games if a return to play was to happen. The end dates for the fall sports range anywhere from Mar. 20-Apr. 17.

While it has not been confirmed from the area schools, girls volleyball and boys and girls water polo most likely will not happen. But coaches of the area boys and girls cross country and football teams are scrambling to put together games up until their respective end dates. The 605 League revised its football schedules to have tentative league contests on Mar. 18, Apr. 1 and Apr. 16.

For the spring sports, girls tennis was okay to begin this past Monday while boys and girls soccer can start as early as Saturday. The other spring sports can begin anywhere from Mar. 1-Mar. 20. The next update on the adjusted case rate will come out on Mar. 2.

CROSS COUNTRY

The Olympic League had its second cluster meet in three weeks last Saturday on the Valley Christian High campus and the results were the same for the host school. The Lady Defenders, paced by sophomore Wesli Oeh, held off Maranatha High to pick up a 34-39 victory. For the second straight race, Oeh finished in second place with a time of 21:25, which was over a minute faster from the Feb. 6 race. In fact, all six runners who ran in the first league meet had faster times last Saturday.

Junior Sophia Moreno was the fifth runner to cross the line with a time of 22:20. But as was the case with the first meet, only three schools fielded enough runners to make it official. As a result, Moreno was officially third. The next V.C. runner was freshman Juliet Chang (24:45), followed by junior Meg Pheifer (25:13), sophomore Katherine Padilla (25:54), Julianna Nguyen (26:07) and senior Angie Prieto (27:38).

Village Christian High racked up 55 points while Heritage Christian High had four runners and Whittier Christian had two runners, both of whom had the third and fourth best times and Maranatha added two extra runners to complete the field of 27 runners.

The Valley Christian boys had another strong outing and clearly distanced themselves from the rest of the league by garnering 27 points. Heritage Christian came in second place with 43 points, followed by Maranatha (81) and Village Christian (84). Whittier Christian was not represented.

“It was another great win for our varsity boys,” said Valley Christian head coach Craig Henry. “I was pleased by how our boys closed our time gap from our number one runner, [junior] Daniel Koops, to our number five runner, [senior] Pedro Ventura.”

Koops finished in second place with a personal record time of 16:25 while Ventura, who also had a personal record, finished in ninth place with a time of 18:24. In between, sophomore Matthew Kubler came in fourth place (17:15) and right behind him in fifth place was junior Caleb Wojciechowski (17:47). Senior Isaac Rubio claimed the seventh spot with a time of 17:54 while Thomas Fujimoto (18:53) and Stephen Chang (19:14) rounded out the rest of the Defenders with 11th and 12th place finishes respectively.

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