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Cougar Gear Fundraiser Benefits Athletics Programs
cougar gifts
Customers look over the merchandise at the Escalon Cougars Sports Boosters booth at a pop up vendor event on First Street, hosted Saturday, Dec. 5. Boosters Club member Melanie McPherrin, working a shift at the booth, said this might be the only fundraiser of the year for the organization. Marg Jackson/The Times

While the prospects for a ‘fall sports’ season are growing dimmer, members of the Escalon High School Sports Boosters nonetheless are continuing fundraising efforts.

This past weekend, the annual ‘Cougar Gear Parking Lot Sale’ was hosted, as part of a pop up vendor event on First Street. It is usually held in the high school parking lot adjacent to the tennis courts but moved this year to be part of the pop up vendor gathering.

Boosters Club member Melanie McPherrin was working a shift at the booth early Saturday afternoon, Dec. 5, showcasing the different items available. New this year, a ‘throwback’ logo T-shirt and sweatshirt celebrating the 100th anniversary of the school. There were also some unique Cougar blankets – though the supply was limited and going fast – along with a variety of shirts, hats, memorabilia and more.

“This is probably going to be our only fundraiser for the year,” McPherrin said, noting that it’s unlikely the Boosters Club will be able to put on their traditional early spring dinner-dance-auction event.

Also, as the region has gone into lockdown again amid growing coronavirus cases, the California Interscholastic Federation, CIF, indicated a stoppage of local high school sports practices and changes to the fall season, if it occurs.

“Due to the continued surge in COVID-19 infections, the California Department of Public Health has postponed the issuance of its updated youth sports guidance. The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) does not expect the CDPH will issue any guidance allowing for schools to return to full practice and competition until after January 1, 2021, at the earliest. Thus, all full practice and competition start dates are officially on hold until updated guidance is issued,” the CIF said in a statement released earlier this month.

The CIF also announced the removal of all Regional and State Championship events for Season 1 – which in Escalon would include football and volleyball.

That decision impacts 10 CIF Sections, accounting for over 1,600 schools and more than 800,000 student-athletes.

“By canceling Regional and State Championship events, more student-athletes will have the opportunity to participate in a longer season, rather than a truncated season with Regional and State post-season play for a limited number of schools,” the CIF statement indicated.

It is hoped that, once the current lockdown is lifted, Season 1 athletes will be able to return to practice and possible competition but it is not a certainty.

Meanwhile, McPherrin said the Boosters Club, which raises funds for all sports, will do their best this year to do some fundraising, to assist athletes when they get back to practices and games.

For those that did not have a chance to attend the annual parking lot sale, McPherrin said you can reach the Boosters through their Facebook page at Eski Sports Boosters and leave a message; someone will get back to you if you want to purchase Cougar merchandise for the holidays.