NEA league breaks off from new WIAA schedule, sets falls sports for March 1

By: 
Taylor Newquist
Sports Editor

The Northeast A League issued a letter to students and parents last week, moving the start date of fall sports to March 1, and shortening its seasons to six weeks each.

The announcement came after the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association set the start date for fall sports to Feb. 1 earlier this month. The NEA believes that pushing back the start of its seasons will allow more time to reach Phase 2 of Gov. Inslee’s new Roadmap to Recovery plan, as well as avoid some potential weather conflicts.

“Frankly I don’t know how we got here,” Colville Athletic Director Megan Smedley said of the high school sports season that has changed a multitude of times this year. “We want to give the sports the best opportunity and we thought this was the best one.”

The new schedule will begin with fall sports from March 1 to April 10. That is followed by spring sports from April 5 to May 15 and then winter sports from May 10 to June 19.

Under the new state restrictions, all sports aside from those labeled high risk indoor (basketball and wrestling) would be able to practice and compete in Phase 2. At the same time, only low-to-medium risk outdoor sports would be allowed to practice under Phase 1.

Smedley also noted that the combined regions under the Roadmap to Recovery helped the league in the scheduling process. “We were trying to navigate through three counties and now that we’re lumped together, we’re all on the same boat.”

As with all the previous schedules set this season, there remains a degree of uncertainty because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The easy part is done now,” Smedley said of the constant re-working of schedules. “If we keep doing the right thing and being mindful of our choices, then we’ll get there.”