Nearly 10½ months after the COVID-19 pandemic brought high school sports to a halt, the CWAC on Monday became the first local conference to officially begin practices toward competition.

The WIAA set Feb. 1 as the opening date in its most recent revised calendar, and the Class 2A league that includes East Valley, Ellensburg, Grandview, Prosser and Selah opted to begin as soon as it could.

The WIAA established Feb. 1 and March 21 as the parameters of the modified fall season, but the Executive Board also allowed individual leagues to set their own timelines.

While all sports can practice, it will still be at least a couple of weeks until all fall sports can compete. Under Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Roadmap to Recovery” plan launched early last month, the state’s eight regions must meet three of the four COVID-19 metrics to advance from Phase 1 to Phase 2.

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On Thursday, it was announced that the Puget Sound and west regions would advance to Phase 2 on Monday. The southcentral region, which includes Yakima, Kittitas, Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla and Columbia counties, met two of the four metrics and was close in a third and remained in Phase 1 along with five other regions.

It will be two weeks before the Department of Health calculates the metrics again.

Cross country, which is allowable in Phase 1 as a low-risk outdoor sport, will be the first sport to compete and CWAC league meets have been scheduled for Feb. 13.

The moderate- and high-risk fall sports, which include football, volleyball, boys soccer, slowpitch softball and girls swimming, can only compete in Phase 2.

All sports except basketball and wrestling can compete in Phase 2. The high-risk/indoor combination of the two sports led the WIAA Executive Board to flip the winter and spring seasons in the modified calendar.