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Santa Rosa schools among area districts calling off sports

In the wake of professional sports canceling or postponing events as a precautionary measure against the spread of the coronavirus, most area high school sporting events have been put on hold as well.

Santa Rosa City Schools on Friday ordered a halt to its five schools’ athletic practices and competitions until Tuesday, when the California Interscholastic Federation sports governing body meets to issue further guidelines.

Healdsburg High followed suit, as did several other area schools or districts.

Santa Rosa Junior College has canceled all athletic events and practices through the end of next week.

Sonoma Valley went a step further.

“We are immediately postponing or canceling all nonrequired/nonessential trips and group activities for students and adults until April 15 when we will revisit the status of all events,” Sonoma Valley Athletic Director Mike Boles announced. “This includes all sports events and practices.”

Sonoma State University has canceled all athletic events, home and away, and all travel for sports teams.

“These decisions are not permanent and are simply made until further notice in regards to the COVID-19 situation,” the school said in its announcement.

Sonoma County has three known cases of COVID-19 infection, all related to passengers from a cruise ship. There are no known cases that arose from community spread, health officials have said.

The Santa Rosa schools suspension order means that the North Coast Track Extravaganza at Montgomery High School also will not go forward. More than 600 athletes were expected for the early-season meet.

The city of Santa Rosa closed its swimming pools through the end of March, as did SRJC, said Jan Smith Billing, the commissioner of the North Bay League of high school sports.

The pool closures will affect all Santa Rosa City Schools, which share pool time at Finley and Ridgway swim centers, as well as Cardinal Newman High School, which swims at SRJC.

The NBL hasn’t canceled any events yet, although most league competitions don’t begin until after spring break, next week for most schools.

One NBL baseball game was going ahead as planned Friday, between Newman and Rancho Cotate, because those districts had no restrictions in place. Four other Friday baseball games that included Santa Rosa City Schools teams were postponed.

Next week’s A.L. Rabinovitz Memorial Tournament, one of the early jewels of the Redwood Empire baseball season, was canceled on Friday as teams began dropping out. Other baseball and softball games set for early next week were canceled.

Santa Rosa Junior College had already announced it was closing its campus through spring break, but on Friday its sports governing body, the state California Community College Athletic Association, suspended all competitions indefinitely.

The JC’s conference suspected all athletic activity through March 20, the end of spring break.

SRJC Athletic Director Matt Markovich said administrators will use the pause to craft a long-term plan for practices, games and athletes’ future eligibility.

American Canyon High School, which plays in the Vine Valley Athletic League with Sonoma Valley, Petaluma and Casa Grande, canceled all athletic competitions until April 1.

Petaluma baseball coach Jim Selvitella said his school will wait for CIF guidance on Tuesday, and Trojan games scheduled until then have been canceled due to opponents pulling out.

Healdsburg principal Bill Halliday said Cloverdale canceled a game against the Greyhounds on Friday, which prompted Healdsburg to take a pause as well.

“The superintendent and I just made the determination to do the same,” Halliday said Friday afternoon.

The CIF and its section commissioners will meet Tuesday morning to discuss spring sports. They likely will issue either recommendations or orders on schedules for the rest of the school year.

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 707-521-5470 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @loriacarter.

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