ASAA Says High School Basketball and Cheerleading Will Begin in January 2021

The Nome Nanooks, in white, take on the Barrow Whalers, in purple, on the basketball court at Nome-Beltz Junior-Senior High School

After weeks of uncertainty about the future of their seasons, Alaska athletes participating in basketball, cheerleading, and potentially wrestling, are set to begin competing this upcoming winter and spring.

Earlier this week, Nome-Beltz Activities Director Pat Callahan shared Alaska School Activities Association’s (ASAA) revised calendar for sports and activities that were postponed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These revised calendars were approved by ASAA in their board meeting on Monday [Nov. 9th].

Last month, ASAA made the decision to cancel all fall sports championships and postpone the season start dates for several winter and spring activities, including basketball, cheerleading, and wrestling.

In the newly revised calendar, basketball and cheerleading now have official start and end dates, beginning in early January and concluding in late March.

For 1A-2A basketball, which includes several schools in the Bering Strait School District (BSSD), the season will begin on January 11th and conclude on March 27th. The state championship is scheduled for March 31st, April 1-3.

3A-4A basketball, which includes NBHS and Kotzebue, is also set to start on January 11th, but its season will conclude on March 20th. The 3A-4A basketball state championship will be held on March 24-27th.

Wrestling’s season, however, is still to be determined. ASAA’s Executive Director, Billy Strickland, is confident those dates will be decided by the next board meeting.

The cheerleading season will run from January 11th to March 27th, with their state championship being held on March 23rd.

For all of these winter and spring sports, ASAA’s revised mask mandate recommends that students wear a mask “if feasible” but does not require athletes to wear masks while actively participating.

According to a statement released by ASAA with consultation from DHSS, the organization, “would like to remind the schools, students and families that much research shows masks are an important measure in stopping the spread of COVID-19.”

The ASAA Board of Directors is scheduled to meet again in early December.

Image at top: The Nome Nanooks boys take on Barrow at home (Photo: Janeen Sullivan, used with permission).