The Peninsula Athletic League, along with other leagues in the Central Coast Section, announced that it will reschedule all outdoor games from Oct. 11 to Oct. 13 to a further date in response to the fires that broke out in the North Bay between Oct. 8 and 9. The fires caused a significant buildup of smoke to settle over San Mateo.
“The safety of [the students] had to be the primary consideration,” said athletic director and football head coach Steve Sell. “We looked at the air quality and it said unsafe, so we decided to cancel.”
The leagues will all reschedule the games at some point. All sports except football will play three games during the week of Oct. 16, rather than the usual two. Even though many athletes have an additional game to play, they do not see it as problematic.
“We’ve [played three times a week before] and we have done really well,” said senior Keertana Namuduri. “A few weeks ago, we played Lowell on [Sept. 25] and played on [Sept. 26] and [Sept. 28] and we were just fine. The only real practice [for the games] we have is the warm up before the games. So, I don’t think it is going to impact us because it is just another practice.”
However, the same cannot be applied for football. In a press release, the CCS announced that it will reschedule the canceled games to Nov. 9 and 10, as well as push the start of the playoffs back a week. For the Dons, that means that their game against Menlo-Atherton, which was scheduled for last Friday but was canceled, will be played on Nov. 9, the week after the Homecoming game against Hillsdale. However, Sell doesn’t see this change as a deterrent for his team.
“We plan on playing beyond [the Hillsdale game] anyways because we plan on making the playoffs,” he said. “It just means we are not playing this week.”
For most sports, practices were either cancelled or moved indoors. Yet, the athletes experienced notable differences practicing under a roof.
“Since there’s only four treadmills on the fitness room we have to rotate off it,” said junior cross country runner Alex Ma. “We do other workouts on fitness bikes, elliptical machine and rowing machine. But it’s just not the same as just being able to go out and run for eight miles.”
Additionally, many athletes were frustrated that their games were postponed.
“My teammates were disappointed,” Ma said. “The Half Moon Bay course has an infamous hill called Cougar Hill and this was our last time running on it this season, and it was a league meet and there’s only three of those. It was definitely a challenging course and we have a lot of people who wanted to set new personal records on that course.”
Despite the big blow of no athletic games, the Aragon community has reacted positively to this decision.
“They understand that we’re putting the health and wellness of [their students] first,” Sell said. “Everybody is on the same boat. I think people are more focused on the tragedy and feel so badly for the people whose lives have been ended or drastically changed than missing a few athletic contests.”