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Native American Reservation schools hope to hold athletics starting in January
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

Native American Reservation schools hope to hold athletics starting in January

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Page cross country

Page's Trent Holiday runs to the finish line for a third-place finish in the 2019 boys Division III state cross country meet at Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix.

Sports have been a toss-up across the state of Arizona, arguably none more so than on the Native American Reservations. But now, sports could be on the horizon for some.

The entire Conference 3A North Region canceled fall sports a few months back and winter sports have been in jeopardy, but with a proposal to the Arizona Interscholastic Association on the table, sports could come back starting in January 2021 for schools in northeast Arizona.

Schools from the 1, 2 and 3A conferences have collaborated for a return to sports, according to a statement released earlier this week, and have set up a proposal with new start dates for high school athletics. 

Under the revamped schedule, basketball and wrestling would start in January and February, while football, volleyball and cross country would go from February to April. Normal spring sports -- baseball, softball, track and field -- would be from April to roughly June.

The proposal is going to the AIA executive board and will be voted on at a Sept. 21 meeting.

"This plan allows our schools to develop alternative athletic and activity timelines that maximize the safety of our competitive and practice events," the statement, dated for Wednesday, read.

The schools listed in the statement that are involved, so far, include: Alchesay, Chinle, Ganado, Greyhills, Hopi, Many Farms, Monument Valley, Page, Pinon, Red Mesa, Red Valley-Cove, Shonto, St. Michael Indian School, Tuba City, Valley Sanders and Window Rock.

Page is the defending Division III boys cross country state champs and St. Michael was set to defend its D-IV girls crown. 

Lance Hartzler can be reached at 556-2251 or at lhartzler@azdailysun.com. Follow him on Twitter @lance_hartz.

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