While the air quality in the Bay Area has fluctuated rapidly this week due to fires in the North Bay, many Palo Alto High School athletics teams have opted to resume practices and games, regardless of air quality.
For many teams such as water polo, volleyball and tennis, these are the last weeks of the regular season before league and CCS tournament play begins and they cannot afford to miss out on their crucial final practices.
According to athletic director Therren Wilburn, many league events had to be cancelled last week, and all outside practices were moved inside.
“Last week leagues cancelled athletic contests, however this week there haven’t been any cancellations,” Wilburn said.
Boys’ water polo could not accommodate extending its seasons and were forced to stuff its final week of the season with rescheduled games.
“We are playing six games in six days this week due to cancellations despite the fact that our last practice was over a week ago,” senior left driver Bryan Look said. “All these games are so critical at this time of year which is why the situation is such a problem for our season.”
Certain teams, like football, the entire season has been extended by a week. According to head coach Danny Sullivan, last week’s scheduled game vs. the Wilcox Chargers is now set to take place on Thurs., Nov. 9.
According to senior setter Julianna Roth, the volleyball team has been forced to shift its season’s schedule as well.
“We had to cancel a few practices and take it easy because heavy breathing or breathing in too much air would not have been good for our health, especially for those who have asthma or breathing problems,” Roth said.
The girls had a league game versus Saratoga canceled and a tournament delayed to this coming weekend.
With fires around the Bay Area ongoing, it remains unclear when the air quality will improve for good.
“Our first priority is the safety of student-athletes; therefore if the air quality doesn’t improve we will have to reschedule athletic contests,” Wilburn said. “We’re optimistic that the air quality continues to improve.”