To no surprise, the Hawaii High School Athletic Association announced cancellation of state championship tournaments that had been tentatively slated in March.
Air riflery, basketball, bowling, competitive cheer, cross country, paddling, soccer, swimming and diving, and wrestling will be regular-season sports only if some of the state’s five leagues choose to do so. The Interscholastic League of Honolulu announced earlier in the week the cancellation of five sports.
This is the lingering effect of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country, though Hawaii is one of just a handful of states that has yet to play a high school sport in the 2020-21 academic year. League officials and coaches across the state had long expected the state championships to be a no-go this year.
Travel restrictions were already a factor in the immense puzzle that the pandemic has been.
“Our intent for cancelling the first set of state tournaments was to allow our member schools the opportunity to participate in a longer league season, rather than a truncated one with regional and state tournament play for only a limited number of schools,” HHSAA Executive Director Chris Chun said. “Although the state tournaments are cancelled, leagues are not restricted in conducting their seasons if it is deemed safe to do so. We will continue to work with the Department of Health and government officials for the possibility to hold state tournaments for the remaining sports in late May.”
“Season 2” sports are a combination of postponed fall sports and traditional spring sports: baseball, football, golf, judo, softball, tennis, track and field, water polo and volleyball.
At this point, coaches and players in the ILH are hoping schools can find common ground and schedule informal competition in “bubble” scenarios for the sports that have been cancelled. There have been no announcements regarding winter sports and some of the postponed fall sports — comprising “Season 1” — but skepticism for higher-risk sports in the OIA, MIL, BIIF and KIF is relatively high, according to coaches who were polled by Hawaii Prep World in December.
There has been no high school sports since March of 2020, when the first statewide lockdown began, cutting the spring sports season short.