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Area schools set target dates to resume athletics: Lompoc, Santa Ynez eye September; Lucia Mar planning for Oct. 5
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Area schools set target dates to resume athletics: Lompoc, Santa Ynez eye September; Lucia Mar planning for Oct. 5

As St. Joseph High School resumed athletic activities this week, some area programs are planning to have students back on campus as early as next month while others are hoping to restart by October.

In a message updating parents sent out Thursday, Lucia Mar Unified officials say they are targeting Oct. 5 as the date to resume activities. Area athletics were halted in the spring at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lompoc and Cabrillo high schools are also close to bringing athletes back to campus. Gary West, Cabrillo's Athletic Director, and Claudia Terrones, Lompoc's AD, said they are working with a restart date of Sept. 8.

Santa Maria Joint Union high schools are still working on getting a return plan approved. A school official said they expect to have a firm date after a Sept. 8 district board meeting. 

Though schools do see athletes on campus in the near future, initial activities will consist of outdoor conditioning.

Santa Ynez High School AD Ashley Coelho said her school is planning to start training in small pods on Sept. 14, with fall varsity athletes only the first few weeks.

"After a couple of weeks, we will have lower level fall sports start, followed by spring sports a few weeks after that," Coelho said in an email. "We plan on making small transitions and re-evaluating every week."

Coelho said Santa Ynez is only cleared to condition and weight lift outdoors with 14 students per two coaches maximum in one session.

"We will have set pods that will not change throughout the conditioning weeks," Coelho said. "I’m excited we are one step closer to making sports happen in December!"

Nipomo High AD Russ Edwards informed LMUSD parents that he and Arroyo Grande AD Stephen Field presented an updated return-to-activities plan to district superintendents last week with the Oct. 5 date to resume in-person conditioning.

"It was a positive meeting and they were receptive to the plan, but cited some concerns and steps that needed to happen in order to make the return to activities plan occur. We left the meeting feeling like October 5 as a start date is a real possibility," Edwards' email read.

Edwards said the Oct. 5 date was "strategically chosen, as that date gets us conditioning approximately three months prior to CIF calendared games beginning."

"AGHS and NHS Athletic Directors met with LMUSD District Leadership yesterday to discuss the possibility of bringing limited athletic conditioning on to campuses this fall," superintendent Andy Stenson said in the message to parents. "Mapping backward from CIF’s stated earliest competition as being December 28, we believe early October would be the best time to begin conditioning. The district is supportive of exploring the concept, but there are many steps necessary before this can be implemented. We understand your desire to begin the season; please know that all parties involved want what is best for our students. The district has promised to investigate all aspects of this and meet again with Athletic Directors in early September."

Mission Prep is hoping to bring student-athletes back on campus this Monday, Aug. 31. 

St. Joseph High, which has yet to resume in-school instruction, reopened its campus to athletes on Monday, though all activities were held outdoors. For instance, basketball players were seen training on the school's tennis courts. Lompoc schools hope to start athletic activities by Sept. 8. Santa Maria public schools have yet to get approval to resume.

St. Joseph High School has been the most aggressive in the area in getting students back on campus. It resumed athletic activities first over the summer, with students working out on June 22. The school eventually shut down its summer conditioning program as COVID-19 cases spiked in Santa Barbara County.

The Knights then started back up on Monday, with dozens of students training on campus in various sports.

No other Santa Maria Valley schools have had athletic activities since sports were shut down in mid-March.

Schlemer is the second nominee for the Santa Maria Times' Player of the Decade award for girls basketball, joining the first, Erin Jenkins of Cabrillo High. The list of nominees is compiled by the sports staff at the Times, Lompoc Record and Santa Ynez Valley News, which is polling current and former coaches and researching individual and team accolades. Players in graduating classes from 2010-2020 are eligible.  

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