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CCSD travel ban leaves sports teams scrambling

Early in the season, coaches do everything they can to get their teams ready for league play. For many teams in Nevada, that means traveling out of state to face stronger competition.

So when the Clark County School District announced last week that it was cancelling all out-of-state and international student travel “out of an abundance of caution” because of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, those trips were scratched.

“It sounds like they’re going to shut us down from going,” said Centennial softball coach Mike Livieri, whose team was scheduled to go to the California National Tournament this week. “I talked with our principal about getting a waiver from the parents, but it doesn’t look good.”

The Southern Nevada Health District has received two reports of presumptive positive cases of coronavirus, and the virus has caused events to be cancelled in Nevada and across the nation. The CCSD statement said it will work with individual schools to determine potential options for rescheduling.

Donnie Nelson, Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association assistant director, said in a text message Monday the NIAA is not dictating at this time where its schools may travel. So this May’s state championships remain as scheduled. The baseball, softball and track championships are scheduled for the North region. The boys golf, swimming and diving are set for the South region.

Livieri said if the Bulldogs can’t make the trip as planned, they likely won’t play at all this weekend. They don’t want to play any of the teams in their area, since they’ll meet once league play begins. Livieri also didn’t seem interested in playing Coronado, which is also scheduled to play in the California National Tournament, since the teams scrimmaged before the season.

“Those will be practice days, and we might throw a fun day in there,” Livieri said. “The girls are disappointed. They look forward to (these trips).”

Because the NIAA is leaving travel decisions to the local districts, private schools that are part of the NIAA but don’t fall under the purview of CCSD — like Bishop Gorman and Faith Lutheran —haven’t been affected.

Bishop Gorman softball’s Kick Off the Season Tournament is still on, and coach Kevin Smith hasn’t had to make any changes.

“We haven’t heard from any teams from California or Utah — or anybody — saying they can’t come,” Smith said. “We’ll see if that changes over the next couple of days, but everything is on as planned. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”

Should any out-of-state teams drop out, Smith shouldn’t have any problems filling those spots. He said he’s already heard from three local schools that were trying to get into his tournament.

While baseball teams like defending state champion Desert Oasis and Palo Verde try to figure out their next move with a scheduled trip to St. George, Utah, unlikely this weekend, it’s business as usual for Faith Lutheran.

“We’re going to St. George,” Faith Lutheran coach David Anderson said. “All we’ve told the guys is if your parents want to hold you out, there’s no punishment. We’ll figure that out if that happens.”

Contact Jason Orts at jorts@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2936. Follow @SportsWithOrts on Twitter.

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