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Cleared for takeoff: Cabrillo and Lompoc athletes set to return to campus July 6, with tight restrictions

Cleared for takeoff: Cabrillo and Lompoc athletes set to return to campus July 6, with tight restrictions

Lompoc Unified School District administrators announced Monday that athletes from fall sports programs at the two Lompoc Valley high schools will return to campus July 6 for the start of phase one of the LUSD return plan.

The district athletic directors, Cabrillo's Gary West and Lompoc's Claudia Terrones, confirmed a plan has been approved by the district and county to have varsity athletes back on campus starting Monday.

“Athletes in our football, cross country, girls volleyball and cheer programs will report that day,” said West.

“Only returning players will report. There will be no incoming freshmen for now.”

West said, “For now, we’re going to wait on bringing athletes from our girls tennis, girls golf and boys water polo programs back to see how this goes.”

At Lompoc High, the fall sports reporting July 6 are varsity football, varsity girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, varsity girls water polo, varsity girls golf and varsity spiritleaders. Varsity tennis will start July 20.

Lompoc High's football team is scheduled to have a training session at 3 p.m. Monday.   

Terrones said junior varsity athletes will report on July 13 and incoming freshmen on July 20.

Lompoc students are required to have a physical as well as an emergency care card, Terrones said. If an athlete can not acquire a physical, they can then sign a 30-day waiver.

All LHS paperwork can be found on https://lompocathletics.olinesports.com/links.php. Information for Cabrillo athletics can be found at https://www.cabrillosports.org.

West said groups of athletes in the phase one return plan will report to separate check-in points at his school.

“The kids must enter with a mask on and leave with a mask on. Then they are to get in their cars and go home. No congregating is allowed.”

“There will be temperature checks, and the kids will fill out a questionnaire,” said West. “We’ll make sure the kids are good to go, either with a physical or a waiver.

“Because of the current conditions a physical can be hard to do, so the CIF is giving 30-day waivers,” for physicals.

In the designated workout areas, “There will be pods with no more than 10 kids allowed per pod,” said West.

During phase one, “No use of any indoor facility (such as the weight room) is allowed.”

Locker rooms will also be unavailable at either school during phase one and athletes are asked to come dressed for practice. No practices will use equipment. Football practices, for instance, will not include balls, bags or protective equipment throughout phase one.

The schools will also not provide water for athletes, so each student is required to bring their own water to practice. No spectators will be allowed at practices.

West said, “Everything we’re doing is with guidance from the CIF and the county health department, and what they’re doing is in accordance with the CDC.”

Cabrillo's athletic director said he’s been coordinating the LUSD return plan with Terrones and pupil support coordinator Paul Bommersbach, who was Lompoc High's principal from 2012 until this spring.

“Paul and Claudia have been great,” said West.

West said he has been in communication with parents.

“We’re hoping phase one will last two weeks but with the way this pandemic has been going, who knows?“ West said athletes from girls tennis, girls golf and boys volleyball programs and winter sports teams, along with incoming freshmen, will be included in phase two of the return program.

“This is new to all of us. We want to do this right so we don’t have to wind up having to pull back.”

Terrones said the team of herself, Bommersbach and West have worked diligently to ensure Lompoc Valley student-athletes can return to conditioning on campus in safe conditions, providing a sort of haven and return to normalcy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I feel confident with the plan that is in place. Paul Bommersbach, Gary West and I, with the support from the Lompoc Unified School District, have worked countless hours to 'Re-Invent the Wheel,'" she said. "Our main focus is to get our student-athletes back on campus in the safest way possible. We will start in pods of 10 or less and everything will take place outside. We are excited in the direction we are going."

Freshman football players can contact frosh head coach Don Cross at cross.donald@lusd.org for any information. They are asked to bring a physical and an emergency care card once conditioning starts on July 20. 

All athletics in the area were shut down on March 13 as the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold in the state. School was suspended March 16 and in-person instruction for the rest of the school year was eventually canceled.

California had 217,000 confirmed cases and nearly 6,000 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon. There were nearly 10 million cases worldwide with over 500,000 deaths. Santa Barbara had 2,600 confirmed cases and 27 deaths as of Tuesday.

Player of the Decade: We're looking for the top player of the last 10 seasons

The sports staff at the Santa Maria Times, Lompoc Record and Santa Ynez Valley News is looking for the top football player from Northern Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County over the last 10 seasons of high school ball.

See who our nominees are thus far.

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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