The Mustangs in action this season. 

Sahuarita Unified School District will hold off on the winter sports season until January after the latest recommendation from the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

SUSD Superintendent Manny Valenzuela said the AIA still needs to finalize Monday's recommendation but the district agrees with it and will make the shift. The AIA is the regulatory body for high school sports in the state.

“Among our group (administrators, athletic directors and principals), the idea makes sense to take those sports and say shift them into the beginning of the calendar year,” Valenzuela said. “It seemed to make sense and it also seemed encouraging that perhaps as a state, as school athletic associations, as health officials, we can take advantage of the timing to create a common plan.”

Practice for winter sports, including boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer and wrestling, began Nov. 9. Valenzuela said though they were not having “full speed” practice, they will make adjustments to the training until the start of the competitive season.

“We will continue to practice with procedures like health logs, temperature checks and we will have a little shift from what we were doing,” he said. “We’ll have smaller groups training, limited time in the gym, modified practice, frequent cleaning. It will be more drill-based training and instruction for the foreseeable time frame as we prepare for the start of the season.”

SUSD’s fall season has seen competitive game play for sports like golf and volleyball move along without cancellations. Football at Sahuarita High School and Walden Grove has experienced several games being cancelled by other districts due to COVID-19.

Friday’s game between SHS and Douglas High School was canceled by Douglas Unified School District, which has canceled all sports for the time being due to rising cases of COVID-19 in the state.

SHS Athletic Director Chip Stratton secured a replacement home game this week with Tanque Verde High School.

Valenzuela said the football season will be coming to an end soon and they are taking it week by week. Football players are required to take a COVID-19 test at the school every Monday in order to practice and play. Valenzuela said there were no positive results this week.

To see the AIA’s modifications for winter sports, visit

Jamie Verwys | 520-547-9728 


Reporter Jamie Verwys grew up in Sahuarita and graduated from the high school in 2006. She lives in Tucson and graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2018.