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New sports guidelines strike disappointment in athletes

Senior Zach Williams runs with the football during conditioning. Photo by Maya Bussinger

On Feb. 4, Athletic Director Scott Savoie held a Zoom meeting outlining a few details of the sports season this year. 

Nevada County’s ‘purple’ color tier, the tier associated with widespread COVID-19 cases, has been preventing sports practice and games for months. How athletics are able to proceed in high school sports depends on the tier status. However, according to Coach Savoie, the county’s status is close to changing into the ‘red’ tier, one tier lower than the ‘purple’.

“It appears that us in Nevada County are closing in on the red tier, which is a huge deal right now for us in the world of athletics,” said Coach Savoie. “What we can do is based on that tier.”

Coach Savoie explained that advocacy groups are attempting to do away with the ‘purple’ tier so students can begin participating in their sports sooner.

“They’re trying to abolish that color tier and they’re trying to back that up with data that they are collecting from other states,” said Coach Savoie. “Most of the states are competing in athletics right now. They’re compiling data and passing that on to the governor in hopes that he is going to do away with our color tier, but, as of right now, that’s what we live with.”

Sophomore Dakota Ayestaran conveyed his opinion on the possible elimination of the color tier.

“I personally think the color tier should be abolished just because I want to play sports normally and I believe the facts show the virus clearing up,” he said.

Sophomore Emma Tillgren agreed, expressing that her ability to play her sport is impeded by the color tier.

“I think sports are an important aspect of a person’s life, especially considering my sport is one of the ones that isn’t being played/practiced right now due to the color tier system,” said Tillgren.

An additional rule put in place by CIF is that schools can only compete against counties that touch them. This causes limited access to competition for Nevada County.

Savoie gave some insight on those guidelines for Bear River.

“We can only compete against … schools that are in counties that touch us, so that means that we can compete against Nevada County schools. The only other two counties that we really touch are Placer County and Yuba County. As of right now, those are the only counties that we can compete with at this point,” he said.

When asked if he thought this rule was necessary, Sophomore Tyler Brenes expressed his strong disagreement.

“No!” said Brenes. “We should be able to play all different counties within a certain mile radius.”

Freshman Jess Starr agreed with Brenes, adding his opinion that it is important to play against different teams.

“I think that the more countries involved the better, because it gives us a variety of people to verse instead of the same old teams each year,” Starr said.

Ayestaran built on Starr’s comment, but said that he does get the point of the idea behind CIF’s rule.

“I understand the corresponding counties rule, but me being a baseball player I would like to play different teams,” said Ayestarán.

Despite the new changes to an already questionable sports season, students still hope they have the opportunity to compete in their sports.

Senior Tanner Roberts especially hoped for a chance to participate in soccer in his last year at Bear River.

“Missing my senior year of sports [is] … my biggest fear,” Roberts said. “It’s important to me because I have spent my whole life playing soccer with my same friends. To know that I’ve already had my last year playing with them is sad to think about.”

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New sports guidelines strike disappointment in athletes