It was good to see balls bouncing in the air over the weekend. Sports have returned to Pacifica.
Due to COVID-19, sports came to a screeching stop a year ago for our young athletes. But footballs were flying at Terra Nova, fielding practice was being held on the Terra Nova baseball diamond, swimmers were dipping their toes into school pools, and, at school playgrounds, Little Leaguers were getting used to their new teammates and learning what positions they will play this year.
At its board meeting on March 2, the Jefferson Union High School Board of Trustees approved a plan that allows athletics to begin
conditioning. The plan has several steps to follow in order to get athletes in shape, including strict safety guidelines and an updated Memorandum of Understanding with American Federation of Teachers.
Last Friday, Terra Nova football coach Jason Piccolotti was given the green light to call his players together for practice. He has only seen some of his athletes on Zoom this past year.
Terra Nova Principal Megan Carey even got involved with the players getting back on the field. She was seen checking them in for practice at the field. She has been an advocate for sports to continue.
The Peninsula Athletic League football teams are scheduled to open the season on Friday. It is unknown at this time whether Terra Nova would be ready to play that night, as the athletes would have had only three days of practice.
At Oceana, Principal April Holland said she was looking forward to the athletes getting back on campus. “I think we will be ready March 11. We’re hoping to open up track and field and boys tennis,” she said.
Sports Hall of Fame canceled: More than 160 Pacificans have been inducted into the city of Pacifica Sports Hall of Fame in the past 30 years. People have asked what happened to this year’s induction ceremony. Unfortunately, COVID-19 forced cancellation of the ceremonial dinner, scheduled for Feb. 27. Hotels have been off-limits for gatherings of guests during the pandemic.
Should COVID-19 somehow disappear later this year, there is a possibility that the event will be held in September. If not, it will be held next February.
The hall of fame recognizes people in four categories: athlete, coach, administrative/official and media. Every candidate must have a direct tie to Pacifica, i.e. a native of Pacifica or lived in the community when they accomplished their particular feat that warranted recognition. Nominees, male or female, must be at least 25 years old.
The public is invited to submit candidates for consideration of nomination into the hall. A nomination letter and supporting documents outlining a candidate’s accomplishments can be mailed to: Pacifica Sports Club, P.O. Box 626, Pacifica, CA 94044.
Coaching comes naturally: David Tigert coaches cross-country for Oceana. During the pandemic, you could find him riding his bike throughout Pacifica, following several runners. Your first reaction might be that conditioning hadn’t yet started for high school athletes, but then you soon learn the runners are former student-athletes of his.
Upon closer observation of him on his bike, you might see he is wearing clothing that supports both Oceana and Terra Nova. Wearing an Oceana jersey and Terra Nova shorts, Tigert is extremely proud of his allegiance to both schools.
“I wear clothing from both schools because I have been at both schools. And it’s not about the clothing, it is about me able to coach the athletes,” said Tigert, who is also a para-professional in the special education department at Oceana.
Growing up in Pacifica, Tigert has been running since he was a youngster. A 1986 Terra Nova graduate, he was an all-around athlete, competing in soccer, golf and basketball, but it was running that made him a standout in both cross-country and track. He still holds the second-best time in cross-country for the school.
“My time is second to Bob Lange, with us being one and two all-time. I still hold the record for most athletic points (850),” Tigert said, smiling. “At that time an athlete could compete in four sports, so that added points. That doesn’t happen now.”
He calls winning the cross-country title as a senior his biggest athletic moment. He continued competing, running at both Skyline College and Cal Poly Pomona. His first year at Cal Poly, the cross-country team was ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Tigert was a teacher and coach at Terra Nova from 2000 to 2012. In 2013, he moved over to Oceana to coach cross-country and track.
Although not able to coach his Oceana athletes this year, he found enjoyment in mentoring many of his former runners with their training.
“The pandemic totally canceled track last year, leaving the seniors with no final season. Cross-country was also canceled this year, “said Tigert. “However, it looks like
track is going to happen, but the numbers are going to be really small. A small school like Oceana is affected a lot because all the sports got pushed into Season 1 and that is less for the teams to draw from.”
Tigert has a passion for coaching. “I love to see the athletes gain the confidence that is going to help them throughout their life,” he says. “I enjoy watching an athlete think that there is no way I can do this and they end up accomplishing their goal. This year the goal is to get the students to have fun because they have been stuck inside for a year.”