BREAKING CIF Cancels State Track and Field Championships

The CIF-State on Wednesday announced the cancelation of the State Track and Field Championship meet, previously scheduled for June 25-26 in Clovis. This is the second year in a row the State Meet has been canceled as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

A brief release from the CIF-State office reads in part:

"With only two of the six Northern California Region Sections offering Championships at this time (Central Coast Section and Oakland Section), it is not feasible for the State CIF to conduct Northern California Regional Championships. Also, due to the limited number of Sections in Northern California conducting championships, coupled with potential logistical/travel issues, the State CIF will not be hosting State Championships in swim & dive, track & field, and wrestling.

"As conditions improve through the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, we are hopeful for a full return in August to education-based athletics."

An earlier release from Southern Section commissioner Rob Wigod stated in part as it related to boys and girls golf, boys and girls individual tennis, and boys and girls track and field: " ... we are still actively working on securing approvals from various county health departments to ensure that we can conduct championship events. We have obtained some approvals in the various sports, but until we can get them all in a particular sport, I ask for your patience until we can finalize the approval process. As soon as we know, you will know."

Because of adjustments to the usual spring calendar (aka Season 2), as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, championships in most sections were scheduled to begin in early June leading to the State Meet. This alignment is a month later than usual when the State Meet is held on Memorial Day weekend.

The CIF-State Track and Field Championships, which began in 1915, had been held every year through 2019 with the lone exception of four years between 1942 and 1945 because of World War II. 

While four of the 10 sections across California previously announced the decision to forgo post-season competition, the others have been moving forward in hopes of being able to conduct as close to a full season as possible, which includes conducting championship prelims and finals.

The CIF-Southern Section track and field prelims were scheduled for June 5 at four divisional locations, with the all-division championships on the calendar for June 12, and the Masters Meet, which normally serves as a State Meet qualifier, planned for June 19. 

Without a State Meet, the Masters Meet is no longer necessary, said Southern Section Assistant Commissioner Thom Simmons, who reiterated that the section is working "with local county health departments on (four) Divisional Championship sites that will serve as hosts to Prelims on (June 5) and Finals on (June 12)."

The section normally holds division prelims at separate locations but the move to also conduct division finals at separate locations is new for this spring and an obvious byproduct of the challenges the folks at the CIF-SS face in trying to get approvals to hold two large meets at four venues.

Elsewhere, the Central Section is moving forward with the usual Area meets to be followed by a Masters all-section championship meet. Area meets are scheduled for June 9 and June 11, with the CIF-CS Masters event scheduled for June 19. 

The Los Angeles City Section has finals scheduled on June 12, but, as is the universal theme for most of the sections, pending approvals. 

The Oakland Section currently is scheduled for track and field trials on June 15 with finals the following day.

The San Diego Section is scheduled for prelims on June 5 and finals on June 12.

The Central Coast Section, currently with track and field trails scheduled for June 12 and finals scheduled for June 19, released the following on Monday:

"We are actively working with the six counties that compose the CCS regarding individual sports that are outdoors. Their approval is required prior to these events occurring. Currently, the CCS is actively seeking approval in Boys and Girls Track & Field and Boys and Girls Swimming. We are expecting to be able to announce soon the status of these events."

The Coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in more than 60,000 deaths in California, shut down high school sports in the Golden State between mid-March of 2020 until late January of 2021.

Athletes looking for competition mostly had to travel out of state and compete unattached or with a club. The unusual winter cross country season was extremely limited and without a lot of fanfare or anything beyond league championships, if that. 

The spring track and field season, which launched in late March, has had plenty of cancellations of invitationals while other usual big events have found a way forward, albeit mostly in a modified form.

For example, the venerable Meet of Champions Distance Classic, traditionally held at Azusa Pacific University, canceled but was quickly resurrected in an extremely condensed form and held at Arcadia High. The Dublin Distance Fiesta was reinvented into three meets to adhere to California Public Health adjacent county restrictions. One meet was held without fans or media. Another canceled roughly 24 hours before the first scheduled gun. Huge spring standards like Trabuco Hills, Redondo, Mt. Carmel and Mt. SAC, among them, are off the books for 2021.

Some teams have been able to travel while others are restricted to competition within their county and adjacent counties. Some pockets of the state have limited competition to duals and tri meets. Others, like the 17-school San Francisco Section, for example, are mostly limited to competition only within the section. 

While the spring moves forward in fits and starts, we now at least know the fate of the State Meet.