Competition – at least in a few sports – appears to be on the horizon for Escalon High School athletes.
“The Valley Oak League (VOL) has agreed to allow Escalon, Ripon and Ripon Christian to join their league for this spring only,” explained Escalon Athletic Director Nate Bartelink. “This will help us have schools that we can schedule within our county, giving our teams a schedule that has a pretty good chance of taking place, given all of the COVID restrictions based on tiers and how that impacts counties and travel/competition from one county to another.”
Two seasons are planned, with Season 1, which kicked off Monday, Feb. 15 and will run through early April, featuring cross country, girls golf and boys tennis. It also includes swimming, but Escalon does not participate in that sport.
Practices could begin as of Feb. 3 with the first contest date set for Tuesday, Feb. 16 and the final contest date on April 2.
Escalon’s golf girls, with coach Kristie Cathcart, were scheduled to take on Ripon Christian at Jack Tone on Tuesday, Feb. 16 after The Times went to press. They also were to host Central Catholic on Wednesday, Feb. 17 and face off with Weston Ranch at a site to be determined on Monday, Feb. 22. A home match is planned for Wednesday, Feb. 24 hosting Kimball.
Tennis boys were slated to host Ripon in action on Tuesday, Feb. 16 and will be at Ripon Christian on Thursday, Feb. 18 with a match at Kimball set for Tuesday, Feb. 23.
For the Cougar cross country team, they are scheduled to compete at Sierra on Wednesday, Feb. 24 for their opening contest.
Proposed in Season 2, for the sports that Escalon competes in, are girls tennis, boys golf, track, baseball, softball, volleyball, football, soccer, basketball and wrestling. There are specific tiers that must be met for those sports to take place; girls tennis, boys golf and track would require Purple Tier; baseball and softball are in Red Tier. Volleyball, football and soccer are in Orange Tier and basketball and wrestling are in the Yellow Tier.
Season practices could start March 22 (March 15 for pitchers and catchers) with a proposed March 8 start date for football. First contest date would be March 19 with football ending April 17 and the rest of the Season 2 sports running through June 4.
“Individual VOL sport schedules have been developed for all of the sports that can take place in the purple and red tiers,” Bartelink noted. “The sports that can take place in the orange and yellow tiers are to be determined. Coaches are also able to schedule ‘non-league’ competition among other schools in San Joaquin County or adjacent counties.”