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California high schools decide on 2 sports seasons vs. 3

Soccer generic
Posted at 11:43 AM, Aug 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-15 14:43:23-04

Along with the California Interscholastic Federation's decision to push the start of High school sports back to December, they also confirmed that there would only be two seasons versus three.

Posing an obvious issue for athletes who typically play more than one sport.

23abc's Sports Director Kari Osep spoke with two multi-sport athletes in Kern county to see how they plan to overcome the challenges brought by the decision.

From three seasons to two means that Kern County schools will see 12 sports in competition for the spring while four fall sports begin in January. Meaning multi-sport athletes will struggle juggling different sports far more than any other school year.

Garces Memorial senior Elijah Toppila is used to training for three-sports ahead of the high school sports season where he competes in football, soccer, and track and field. Now he is not only preparing for an uncertain start to a sports year with football set to begin in January, but he's also preparing to possibly make a decision if he's unable to balance all three in this condensed sports year.

"Very anxious at first because I know what's gonna happen with my senior year, or if there's going to be high school sports at all. But I've been taking this time to work on a lot and just ready myself for all conditions." said Garces multi-sports athlete, Elijah Toppila.

Soccer player first, Toppila recognizes that track and soccer would be the hardest to balance as they run in the same season. But he also knows he has to think about his future.

"With college coming up, I think it's best to stand out more than to be okay in three." state Toppila.

Even though he wants to do his best in each.

"Help the team as much as possible is my goal, and then try and PR and everything like do my best."

Up the 99, Kern Counties' smaller communities face different challenges with multi-sport athletes.

Shania Perry, a McFarland multi-sport athlete, said that schools are really small and they only have one high school, and they have sports teams to fill.

Smaller school size could mean even smaller roster sizes with athletes not able to compete in all of their sports.

"Definitely going to be small, like, I feel like they're just gonna do all varsities." said Perry.

McFarland senior Perry who plays volleyball, basketball, and runs track, hopes she'll still be able to one last time.

"We don't know if we are going to go to college and play at the next level, are playing in college. So being that we're seniors, like our last opportunity our less chance to shine or to feel the greatness we feel while playing the sport. I'm not going to take anything for granted." explained Perry.

If both athletes are allowed to compete in all three, they know the struggles of balancing their schedules. While North High school Athletic Director and Boys Basketball Coach AJ Shearon believes the biggest strain could be on the athletes.

"We're gonna encourage those kids to continue to do that which we will. I'm just worried more about the toll that could take on the kid when they're balancing obviously academics is, as the primary focus, but then also moving to their sport that they might consider their primary sport, but also not wanting to give up what they might consider their secondaries." said Shearon.

There's a reason students like Toppila and Perry choose to play more than one sport to begin with.

"Being out there with my teammates and watching them do good, grow throughout the season. Again, I'm really emotional." said Perry.

"There not like normal friendships they're like a brotherhood when you're with the team. I miss it for sure." shared Toppila.