With temperatures expected to soar this weekend, the CIF is altering the start times for the state track and field championships in Clovis.
The state meet had been scheduled to start at Veterans Memorial Stadium at Buchanan High on Friday with field events at 3 p.m. and track preliminaries at 5 p.m. Finals in field events had been scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, with track finals starting at 6 p.m.
But with highs expected in the 100s, the CIF will amend the schedule of events for each day.
“Due to the projected high temperatures in the central valley the CIF is currently working with meet management and the Clovis Unified School District on modifying the event/stadium entry schedule on both days,” the CIF said in a news release sent Tuesday.
The CIF will announce a new schedule of events by 5 p.m. Wednesday.
It’s the first time in the meet’s 98-year history that the schedule of events has needed to be changed due to heat.
“The health and safety of our athletes and the people who have come to watch them is on everyone’s mind,” said Rebecca Brutlag, the CIF’s media relations officer. “We want to make sure everyone competes comfortably.”
This is the eighth consecutive year the state track and field finals have been held in Clovis.
Carlo Prandini, deputy superintendent at Clovis Unified, said the school district already had protocols in place in the event of searing temperatures starting with “a lot of water for everyone.”
He added more is being done, including adding new shade structures on the infield along with misters in the warm-up areas for athletes and above the bleachers for spectators.
Spectators are also welcome to bring umbrellas and small ice chests, but they will be asked to put down the umbrellas once the racing begins, Prandini said.
On the Buchanan High campus, the Rene Errotabere Center (east gym) will be open to athletes and spectators as a cooling center.
Prandini did not specify what time changes are being considered.
“We’re working on a few things to move some start times back,” said Prandini, adding that the field events will likely move later from their usual 3 p.m. start time but also saying he “didn’t want the kids running close to midnight.”