Officials at the Trans-Valley League have released their schedules for high school sports for the coming, COVID delayed, year, but this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a number of counties in the state that moved backward on the state’s tier structure and that most residents will be in the most restrictive tier.
On Monday, he said California is “pulling an emergency brake” in announcing that 41 counties, including Stanislaus, comprising over 94-percent of the state's population, will be in the purple tier. Previously, there were just 13 counties in that most restrictive tier.
The surge in coronavirus cases statewide was blamed for the sudden change, when rolling out the beefed-up restrictions at a Monday press conference.
What the overall impact will mean to student athletes here is yet to be determined. As things had been steadily improving, until recently, league officials were optimistic about re-starting high school sports next month.
The Trans-Valley League is the league Riverbank usually plays in, consisting of seven other teams in the North Valley. In addition to the Bruins, there are the Escalon Cougars, the Ripon Christian Knights, Ripon's Indians, and the Livingston Wolves. Also, there are the Yellowjackets of Hilmar, Hughson’s Huskies, and the Crusaders of Modesto Christian.
Two Sports Seasons
With the new, condensed schedule, TVL sports were to be broken down into two groups, to be played in 2021, with the ‘winter’ sports, football, boys and girls volleyball and boys and girls cross country, set to begin formal practices in December, while scrimmages, then a month of pre-league competition, followed by regular games from January through March.
As an example, football was scheduled to begin formal practices on Dec. 7, with a scrimmage set for Dec. 31. Four weeks of pre-season games were to be on Fridays in January. League games were to begin on Friday, Feb. 5, with the Bruins on a bye week to start with.
They’d then be playing six straight games, through Friday, March 19.
In normal seasons, girls volleyball is played in the fall, while the boys teams play in the spring. This coming year, they’ll both be playing at the same time.
The boys were to start their practices on Dec. 14, with a first scrimmage on Dec. 22 and a first game on Dec. 29. The Foundation game was to be held on Dec. 29. Boys volleyball was set to play a two-a-week game schedule, Mondays and Wednesdays, through Thursday, Feb. 24.
League play was to begin on Jan. 11, with the Bruins boys on a bye.
Girls volleyball was to play its regular season games on Tuesdays and Thursdays, also beginning practices on Dec. 14, with a schedule of scrimmages and games similar to that of the boys.
Co-Ed Cross Country
Both cross country squads were to begin practicing on Monday, Dec. 7, with scrimmage possible on Dec. 15 and the first serious competition beginning on Monday, Dec. 21.
The TVL meets were scheduled at the Ceres River Bluff Regional Park. There was to be a pre-season meeting on Jan. 13, then regular meets on Jan. 20, Feb. 3, with the finals set for Feb.24.
Now all this planning and scheduling may be for naught, as the COVID pandemic continues to spread in Northern California.
If the counties in this area end up in different tiers on the state’s COVID scale, it might be that some schools may have different standards.
Take football, for example.
For TVL teams, Ripon, Escalon and Ripon Christian are in San Joaquin County, while Hilmar and Livingston are in Merced County. Modesto Christian, Hughson and Riverbank are in Stanislaus County.