Yesterday, the NHIAA posted guidelines for return to play for all sports. While some may be discouraged by a delay in the start of the sports season to Sept. 8th, we are choosing to look at what they said we can do within the safety of the guidelines. The delay is so school districts have time to decide if they are going to participate and adjust/plan for the challenges of the upcoming school year. The purpose of this post is to support the return of cross country and provide information to help with this decision!!
We understand the work that has gone into not only the general guidelines with adding Phase III, but with all the sport specific guidelines. We appreciate the position all officials are in when making these decisions. We echo their sentiment with regards to the vital role high school sports play with both mental and physical health and education. We applaud the NHIAA for being dedicated to having a fall sports season! We believe in the purpose and positive outcomes of cross country.
Legendary NH coach for 40 years, Larry Martin said, “As cross country coaches, we all know–our sport is SPECIAL. The teamwork, camaraderie, feeling of accomplishment, and sense of family are unique to our sport. Last week, in talking to John Mortimer (Millennium Running), he said that he is where he is, and who he is, because of cross country. We MUST do everything we can to make sure this year’s cross country athletes get to experience all of this this Fall.”
So, let’s focus on the positive! We have a start date. Cross Country is considered a low risk sport. Divisional Championships and Meet of Champions are still on the schedule. It looks as if Manchester and Black Bear Invitationals are actively planning alternatives to actually hold a version of their events this season which will be compliant to the guidelines. Hopefully others will follow. Many cross country teams are having summer sessions safely and successfully. Road races, although organized a bit differently, are being conducted now and safely. If everyone remains vigilant, actively practicing social distancing, wearing masks, among other things, NH can have a cross country season.
As meets adapt to new guidelines, so will we. We will do all we can to adequately cover the phenomenal athletes over the course of this season. Whether it is videoing, snapping pics, livestreaming, recapping, interviewing athletes/coaches, we will in some form or another, help parents and fans experience their loved ones competing.
To help coaches and schools,early next week, we will post specific suggestions on how to conduct a safe home meet under the current guidelines. We will also share some other specific strategies for holding wave starts and finishes for larger meets. We as a unique cross country community, can get this done safely. In the meantime, below are links to the NHIAA’s Return to Play for All Sports as well as their specific guidelines for Cross Country. After all, looking at the guidelines, as long as social distancing practices are observed, outdoor events especially are possible. Even travel among the New England states are possible. We have enough to plan! Show your support by commenting below or posting on social media in a positive way!!!
NHIAA Cross Country General Guidelines – Coaches!!! PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW – – very helpful