High school sports delayed until January 1st, at the earliest

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Many high school athletes and their parents had been dreading this for months, another delay to the return of school sports.

With the state's new COVID-19 guidelines not expected until New Year's Day at the earliest, patience is the key.

The California Interscholastic Federation, CIF, announcing the latest surge in COVID-19 cases means all full practice and competition start dates are officially on hold until updated guidance is issued.

That guidance is not expected to come from state health officials until January 1st, if possible.

"It's for sure frustrating," says Aaron Huerta, head football coach at Harvard Westlake.

It is just one of the more than 1,600 California high schools governed by CIF, where across the state some 800,000 students are involved in nearly two-dozen different sports.

Chris Torres, a high school athlete at Citrus Valley expresses his frustration.

'It kinda just throws off the whole year because this is what you look forward to after your three years of working extremely hard. Obviously you work hard your senior year, but like this is supposed to be the best year of high school," he says.

The CIF is also canceling all Season one Regional and Championship events. The hope is that a lack of playoffs will lengthen the regular season so athletes will have more opportunities to play, but there's still no guarantee that any games will happen.

Athletes haven't been able to train, that's because high school sports competitions have been banned since August, with only limited training allowed.

Coach Huerta's message: hopes of a season still live.

"They could have easily canceled it today and that's what I'm going to tell my players. They could have canceled it, they haven't. They want to find a way to play so we're going to prepare like we're going to play. It might not be until February and that's OK," he says.
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