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CIF Southern Section plans to move forward with Season 2 sports playoffs

CIF Southern Section commissioner Rob Wigod speaks during a press conference Monday afternoon.
(Screencap by Matt Szabo)

CIF Southern Section commissioner Rob Wigod was in a good mood on Monday afternoon.

At one point late in his 45-minute press conference, he even quoted Bruno Mars from the song “Uptown Funk.”

“Don’t believe me, just watch,” Wigod said.

He was speaking of having team playoffs for Season Two sports in this modified 2020-21 athletic season. The thousands of student-athletes involved will all have a chance to help their teams compete for championship plaques.

The section announced Monday it is planning to move forward with team playoffs in the sports of baseball, softball, boys’ volleyball and boys’ and girls’ basketball, lacrosse, soccer, tennis and dual meet wrestling.

Wigod said the section is working with county health departments on ensuring it can conduct championships in individual golf, swimming and diving, tennis and track and field. There are not plans to conduct individual wrestling championships as current California Department of Public Health guidelines do not allow for individual wrestling tournaments.

Wigod said that some of the sports that traditionally have multiple championship games at the same site, like basketball and baseball, could instead use home sites this year. The section also is looking for a new site for swimming championships; Riverside City College won’t be used this year.

Most athletes currently competing in Season Two sports now know their seasons could extend past league play. This has not been the case for Season One athletes, including football players who are set to complete their season Friday after playoffs were canceled in January.

Newport Harbor girls’ soccer coach Justin Schroeder said he let his team know the good news following its practice Monday morning at Davidson Field.

“They were absolutely happy,” Schroeder said. “I’ve had a pretty good pulse, I think, about what’s been going on, so I’ve kind of kept them in the loop on everything. Any time you can extend a season, it’s a good thing, especially with this group that we have.”

Schroeder said he thought playoffs would be green-lighted when the CDPH changed its youth sports guidelines on April 6, allowing teams to travel over multiple county lines for “inter-team” competitions.

Huntington Beach High baseball relief pitcher Matthew Lopez throws in relief against Edison on March 31.
Huntington Beach High baseball relief pitcher Matthew Lopez throws in relief against Edison on March 31. The Oilers, who advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division 1 semifinals in 2019, will again be looking to qualify for the postseason in 2021.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Edison High athletic director Rich Boyce is also the Chargers’ boys’ basketball coach, so the news that basketball could not only be played but would have a postseason was sweet for him to hear.

“We’re all ecstatic,” Boyce said. “This is what the kids need. Not just what they want, they need this. They need to be able to look forward to the end of a year that was not what they wanted.

“Baseball and [boys’] volleyball and track, all of those spring sports, it would have been devastating to lose [playoffs] for two years in a row. Imagine if you were a junior last year and you lost both [years], but thankfully they don’t have to worry about that. It’ll be exciting for the next eight weeks or so.”

Huntington Beach High girls’ tennis coach Patrick Wright said the news was exciting for his team, which could make the CIF Southern Section Open Division for the first time in program history.

The Oilers, who won the Division 3 title in 2018 for their only CIF crown in program history, are undefeated this season behind a very talented singles lineup including senior Kaitlyn Taylor, junior Cindy Huynh Nguyen and freshman Yen Nhi Huynh Nguyen.

“They’ll be excited [to have playoffs], although I don’t think they still understand quite how good they are,” he said with a laugh.

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