The California Interscholastic Federation made it official on Friday by cancelling the rest of the state’s spring high school sports season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
State commissioner Ron Nocetti released a statement saying that his decision came after Gov. Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond ordered distance learning for the remainder of the school year.
“The California Interscholastic Federation does not see an avenue for the spring sports season to continue,” Mr. Nocetti said. “As such, in consultation today with the 10 section commissioners, the decision has been made to cancel spring section, regional, and state championship events.
“We understand this is disappointing for everyone involved in education-based athletics and empathize with our student-athletes and all who are impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. As always, our top priority is everyone’s ongoing health and safety during this challenging time, and we all look forward to the day when education-based athletics resumes.”
At the time of postponement, eight of Santa Barbara County’s spring sports teams were ranked in the CIF-Southern Section.
The cancellation erased the prospect of an epic Channel League baseball season. Santa Barbara (5-1-1 and ranked fourth in Division 3) had just battled cross-town rival San Marcos (5-3-1 and No. 3 in Division 5) to a 1-1 tie just a few days before the season was postponed.
Santa Barbara’s boys volleyball team was also ranked in the section at No. 11 in Division 1. Laguna Blanca (Division 4) and Bishop Diego (Division 5) were also receiving votes in the polls.
Santa Ynez’s softball team was polling at No. 2 in Division 6 while two local teams were ranked in girls lacrosse: Dos Pueblos at No. 2 and Cate at No. 8 in Division 2.
The CIF did release some good news for Bishop Diego, with two players apiece from its boys and girls basketball teams receiving selection to its All-Southern Section teams.
Jeff Burich was chosen as the Division 5A Coach of the Year, guiding the Cardinals (23-10) to the CIF 5A final where it lost to top-ranked Ganesha. Burich was also CIF Coach of the Year in 2015 after leading Bishop to the championship.
His two leading scorers, senior Julia De La Cruz and junior Elliott Redkey, were chosen to the All-CIF 5A team.
The Cardinals’ boys basketball team went 22-13, advancing to the CIF-SS 5AA final before losing 63-62 to Arrowhead Christian. Bishop’s two leading scorers, junior Matthew Cunningham and sophomore Kai Morphy, were both tabbed to the All-CIF 5AA honor squad.