The Virginia Association of Christian Athletics (VACA) hopes to have a fall athletic season became another casualty of COVID-19.
The conference voted Wednesday during a meeting in Stuarts Draft to scrap the fall season, which had planned for an Oct. 19 start, and move to Plan B with the winter sports hopefully kicking off the 2020-21 athletic year.
Ridgeview Christian in Stuarts Draft along Grace Christian and Stuart Hall, both in Staunton, are VACA members. Stuart Hall had previously postponed all of its athletic activities until at least Jan. 1.
Under VACA’s Plan B, basketball opens the winter schedule with the first games on Nov. 30 and the state tournament is scheduled for Feb. 12-13. Fall sports, which include volleyball and boys soccer, now begin Feb. 15 and the state tournaments are April 9-10. Spring sports, featuring baseball, softball, girls soccer and golf, conclude the athletic calendar, beginning April 12 and the state games are May 28-29.
Cross-country is currently being competed, but VACA only sanctions the state championship. Grace Christian is the only local school that fields a cross-country program. Grace is hosting the state championship meet at Coyner Springs Park in Waynesboro on Oct. 24.
The conference’s switch to Plan B doesn’t come as a big shock as the number of positive tests still abound.
“We have a couple schools in the conference struggling with COVID-19 issues,” Ridgeview Christian athletic director Wayne Pettway said. “Twice as many schools wanted Plan B than to stick with Plan A. Those that voted to keep Plan A weren’t upset and went along with it. Now we all hope that we can get the winter season started as scheduled.”
Grace Christian athletic director Frank Kahrs said the cross-country season will continue as scheduled with only a month remaining.
“The meets have been socially-distanced and strict protocols have been followed,” he said. “We hosted a meet at Coyner Springs the other week with a cap of 125 runners and a total of 250 people overall in accordance to state guidelines. Each runner was allowed only one parent to attend. It was an interesting day in making everything work, but anything for the kids to feel something normal.”
Kahrs emphasized that when it comes to the VACA state meet spectators will be very limited if any are allowed at all.
The Grace AD fully supported the Plan B decision.
“We hope our plan comes together and the cases are down by that time,” he said. “We will play without fans if necessary. Hopefully the Governor lets us play. The final decision to play for public and private schools rest with him.”
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