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Smoke from the Woodchopper fire blows on to Highway 101 as a firefighting plane flies overhead Thursday. More dense smoke from the Thomas Fire in Ventura County has forced a number of changes to the local high school and college sports schedules.

Len Wood, Staff

The Thomas fire that has burned nearly 80 square miles in Ventura County is affecting local high school and college sports.

With smoke from the fire drifting over Santa Barbara County, which has created poor air quality conditions, several games have been postponed or canceled.

The biggest event to be affected is the Gold Coast Tournament, an annual girls basketball tournament hosted by Goleta’s San Marcos High School that has now been canceled.

Righetti, Cabrillo and Santa Ynez high schools were scheduled to take part in the tournament through the weekend.

But the tournament isn’t a total washout.

“We scheduled a couple games with team’s that were supposed to be part of the tournament under the umbrella of the Gold Coast Tournament,” said Righetti athletic director Kevin Barbarick. “We’re going to play Friday at Cabrillo and then we’ll host a doubleheader Saturday. (Bakersfield) Centennial will play two games, the first against Cabrillo and the second against us. I think they’ll tip off at 4 and 6 p.m.”

Righetti’s Thursday night boys basketball game at Ventura’s St. Bonaventure was postponed.

“We’ll try to reschedule that one at some point down the road,” Barbarick said.

Righetti’s girls soccer match that was set for Thursday at Lompoc was canceled.

“Since it was a non-league match, we probably won’t re-schedule it,” said Lompoc High Athletic Director Don Cross. “We start (Los Padres) league play next week and I don’t think we’ll be able to find a place on the schedule after that.”

Barbarick agreed with Cross that the game probably won't be rescheduled.

Lompoc was also scheduled to host Carpinteria’s Cate School in a girls water polo match Thursday but that, too, was called off.

Cate has a number of students who live on campus.

“Because of the fire, Cate’s students have been evacuated and school was canceled so we had to cancel that game,” said Cross.

Lompoc’s boys soccer match Friday at Los Olivos’ Dunn School will also likely be postponed or canceled.

“It hasn’t been canceled yet but we’ll see,” said Cross. “The poor air quality might force us to cancel the game. We’ll know more by Friday morning.”

Lompoc's boys and girls wrestling teams were originally scheduled to compete at the annual Camarillo 10 Way Tournament. Camarillo officials are trying to move that event over to Moorpark College but they'll do it without Lompoc High.

Lompoc canceled its appearance at the 10 Way and will instead take part in the Rumble at the Rock on Friday and Saturday at Morro Bay High School.

Pioneer Valley Athletic Director said Thursday night that the Panthers' boys wrestling team will not take part in the Camarillo 10 Way while the PVHS girls will head to Morro Bay for the Rumble at the Rock.

Pioneer Valley added a boys soccer match to its schedule next Monday.

"Because the fire forced San Marcos to cancel one of its games, we're going to add a game to our schedule and play San Marcos Monday at 5:30," Pioneer Valley boys soccer coach Alan Brafman said late Thursday night.

Also canceled, Thursday’s girls soccer match between St. Joseph and Santa Ynez at Santa Ynez High School.

Santa Ynez was also scheduled to play at the annual Fillmore High School boys basketball tournament.

The entire Fillmore tournament has been canceled.

Saturday's boys soccer match in Santa Barbara between Orcutt Academy and Bishop Diego has been postponed.

Orcutt Academy athletic director Chad McKenzie says the schools will try to reschedule the match at a later date.

On the college level, the 45th annual Santa Barbara City College Classic men’s basketball tournament was canceled.

Eight teams were scheduled to play Thursday through Saturday.

In announcing the cancellation, the college said the air quality is “very unhealthy” in the Santa Barbara area due to smoke and ash. All of SBCC’s campuses have been closed through Saturday.

The Vaqueros were set to host Columbia on Thursday. Other teams in the three-day tournament were Oxnard, Bakersfield, San Diego Miramar, L.A. Valley, Grossmont and College of the Desert.

If you have a story idea or photos that you would like to share, you can email Elliott Stern or connect with him on Twitter @SMTSidelines


Senior Sports Reporter