Just hours before its start, the girls water polo Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions was canceled, Santa Barbara High water polo coach Mark Walsh announced in an email to coaches bringing their teams to Santa Barbara for the tournament.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District made the decision to stop all outdoors extracurricular activities on Thursday due to the surge of the COVID-19 cases.

“Just got email from our district to cancel all activities,” Walsh told the coaches in the email, and told Noozhawk.

Twenty elite teams in the CIF-Southern Section, 17 from out of the area, were scheduled to play Thursday through Saturday at the Santa Barbara, Dos Pueblos and San Marcos pools. 

Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos were going to kick off the tournament with play-in games on Thursday at 3 p.m.

“I can confirm that we’ve worked closely with Santa Barbara County Public Health, and after that consultation, we will be putting extracurriculars on pause for the week, and that is inclusive of athletics,” said SBUSD Superintendent Hilda Maldonado in an email to Noozhawk. “We will be reassessing about the following weeks at some point in the coming days. We will make sure to communicate that to you as soon as we make a final decision.”

The school district on Monday postponed all indoor sports events for the week.

The other outdoor events that were postponed on Thursday included Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos playing each other in boys and girls soccer, and San Marcos facing Cabrillo in soccer.

In his email, Walsh mentioned the possibility of playing the Tournament of Champions at a later date. 

“We can discuss possible makeup of the tourney later when we have more info,” he said.

On Thursday evening, the Santa Barbara Unified School District notified parents that it decided to suspend all indoor and outdoor extracurricular activities, including sports, until further notice.

Athletic competitions are suspended but practices may continue, according to the district. 

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.