Air pollution prompts cancellation of North Bay sports events

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This story has been updated:

In addition to a wide swath of school closures Friday because of poor air quality as a result of the deadly Camp Fire in Butte County, a long list of prep sports events scheduled to take place this weekend have been canceled or rescheduled.

A full lineup of North Coast Section football playoff games scheduled for tonight and Saturday have been pushed to Monday. Section officials said they hoped the move to Monday would reduce “confusion and potential chaos” if the contests had to be rescheduled a second time.

The Monday playoff lineup includes American Canyon at Rancho Cotate, Ukiah at Campolindo, Encinal at Cardinal Newman, Cloverdale at Kelseyville, St. Helena at Salesian and Tomales at Branson.

The Middletown at Fort Bragg Div. 5 quarterfinal game will be played Saturday at 7 p.m. as scheduled so long as air quality remains healthy, as will the Rincon Valley Christian at South Fork 8-person game tonight.

Both the North Bay League Oak and Redwood divisions cross country finals have been rescheduled to next week. The NBL-Redwood meet was originally scheduled to take place at Spring Lake today and NBL-Oak teams were slated to compete at Ukiah High School on Saturday.

“Our coaches will not be able to run today, it’s just too unsafe,” said NBL Commissioner Jan Smith Billing.

“The air quality is horrible everywhere.”

On Friday morning, officials were finalizing a plan to move both league final meets to Tuesday at Spring Lake. Both divisions would race together, but finish in separate chutes.

For the change to the cross country schedule, officials asked for and received a waiver to extend league competition past Saturday’s deadline. Prior to the fires, teams were required to complete all league competition by Nov. 10.

The league meets do not determine which runners advance to the North Coast Section finals which are scheduled to take place in Hayward on Nov. 17. The league meets determine individual and team league pennant winners.

The deadline for NCS cross country entries remains Sunday night.

In addition to the changes to the game schedules, the poor air quality has thrown a wrench into teams’ practice schedules and competition preparation.

Rancho Cotate High School football coach Gehrig Hotaling said Thursday that he canceled his team’s practice. No classes were held at the high school Friday.

At Cardinal Newman, classes were held Friday. Football coach Paul Cronin said he planned to meet with his team Friday afternoon and hold a practice Saturday.

“It is what it is, you just have to deal with it,” he said.

Check back for updates.

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