(File photo)

There will be no high school sports this fall after all.

The Northwest Conference voted to not participate in the first season of the new school year this fall which would have included boys tennis, cross country and girls swimming. Those sports will now take place with the other traditional fall sports of football, volleyball and girls soccer in season three of the WIAA’s athletic calendar. 

Northwest Conference president Mike McKee confirmed the decision Monday. 

With the move, the earliest Whatcom County student athletes can see any action is now Dec. 28, the start of winter sports in season two.

The decision comes with little surprise as Gov. Jay Inslee put an indefinite halt on counties advancing through the state’s Safe Start reopening plan. For competition to take place in the fall, counties have to be in at least Phase 3. Whatcom County is currently in Phase 2 meeting only two of the five benchmarks to move forward whenever Inslee allows counties to do so again. 

Lynden Christian athletic director Brenda Terpstra said having any type of competition this fall would have been difficult with the public schools in the conference starting the school year remotely. Lynden Christian is the only school in the county starting the new school year with in-person learning. 

Practices for traditional winter sports, which include boys and girls basketball, wrestling, gymnastics and boys swimming, are scheduled to begin Dec. 28 and will be the first sports played of the new school year.

Terpstra said it’s still unclear what exactly winter sports will look like at LC and in the conference. 

“I don’t know that winter will look the same,” Terpstra said. “Do we have to stream games? Do we have to limit who comes into the games? I don’t know, so we’ll adapt as we have been since March. Our main goal is to just get something for the kids.”

Terpstra said LC feels it has a good plan in place to not only reopen schools, but to get to a point where athletics can happen. 

“Hopefully the cases go down and the governor allows us to progress in phases and we can get back to playing ball soon,” Terpstra said.