VCCCD to decide on Friday if Spring II sports will return to Moorpark, Oxnard, and Ventura colleges

The+Raider+football+stadium+remains+empty+on+Saturday%2C+Feb.+6%2C+2021+at+Moorpark+College.+No+sports+competitions+have+been+played+at+the+stadium+in+over+a+year+due+to+the+COVID-19+Pandemic.+Photo+credit%3A+Ryan+Bough

The Raider football stadium remains empty on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021 at Moorpark College. No sports competitions have been played at the stadium in over a year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

By Max Clark

The decision on whether Moorpark participates in Spring II sports will be released Friday, Feb. 26. If the Ventura County Community College District decides to opt-in, baseball, softball, men and women’s track and field, men’s golf, beach volleyball and men’s volleyball will be participating.

In an interview earlier this week, Moorpark’s Athletic Director Matt Crater said that he has every intention to compete if it is safe.

“If it looks like we can continue (the season) safely, then let’s give our student-athletes the opportunity to play and showcase their talents,” Crater said.

On Dec. 17, the District announced that delayed fall and winter sports competition will not be happening in early spring of 2021. The decision was made largely due to the Covid-19 surges that were occurring during that time. On Dec. 16 there were 497 new cases, three additional deaths and a record high of 241 hospitalizations with 59 in ICU.

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, there were 159 new cases, zero new deaths and 135 current hospitalizations including 33 patients in ICU. A significant decrease from the numbers in December.

Ventura County is still currently in the purple tier with a weekly average case rate of 16.9 per 100,000. To enter the red tier of this statistic, the number needs to be seven or below.

With total uncertainty in the air, it can be very hard on student-athletes and coaching staff alike.

Moorpark Baseball’s Head Coach Mario Porto wants spring sports to come back to bring normalcy. Though no decision has been made yet, the team has practiced three times over the past two weeks while taking many precautions.

“Hopefully by the end of the week we will all have been tested twice,” Porto stated. “I think to provide normalcy for these guys, all their hard work and going through protocols should mean something.”

Porto not only wants to provide normalcy for the students but the community as well.

On whether the team would be ready in time if the decision was to opt-in, Porto said that the team will be just fine.

Scott Nagatoshi is a student-athlete at Moorpark and competes in pole vault on the Track and Field team. Nagatoshi spoke on what competing this year would mean for him.

“Moorpark College has been a place for me to develop as an athlete under more focused guidance,” said Nagatoshi. “Being able to compete would mean an opportunity to advance in the sport and maybe even get me some new PR’s that could help me walk on when I transfer.”

Both Porto and Nagatoshi, when asked how opting out of spring sports would affect the student-athletes, spoke about how for many students this could be their last time competing for their respective sports.

“It would be difficult coming to terms with the fact that I’m going to finish out this sport I’ve been doing for five years without a chance to compete one last time,” Nagatoshi stated.

No matter the outcome, the decision made on Friday will have a large impact.