Photo: Ben Norton keeps a mask at the ready as he runs across Davis High’s campus.
By Kate Sumner,
On Feb. 17, the Davis High cross country team ran against Cosumnes Oaks High School.
“It will be our second meet of the season and the first time we’ve hosted a meet on campus in almost a decade,” cross country coach Tim Groth said. Groth was very excited for the meet as well as what the future holds for the team.
The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) and athletic department have set specific guidelines that athletes must follow in order to compete. All athletes are required to have their mask on at all times, unless they are in competition. Only teams and coaches are allowed into the stadium, as that’s where the start, finish and team areas will be held.
“Spectators being allowed at meets is currently a district by district decision. Currently the Elk Grove school district won’t allow any spectators onto school campuses so the parents have to watch and cheer from the other side of the fences. At our home meets, spectators will be allowed to watch from the grass and soccer field on the outside of the stadium,” Groth said. Despite being restricted to only certain areas, athletes’ parents are still in high spirits and eagerly cheering on athletes as they pass by.
This season cross country will only be competing in league dual meets. “I know they wish we were doing our big cross country invitationals such as Mt. SAC, but this is the best we can do under the circumstances and I think they realize,” Groth said.
There will be some away dual meets this season, but no busses or team vans will be used. The team will be relying on parent transportation for safety reasons. The races have also been limited to a maximum of 18 runners per school. Many athletes have shared that they are comfortable being close to other athletes without a mask, only while they are competing.
“I feel alright while competing because we’re usually not that close and I know my teammates and I have all been getting tested regularly,” senior Vivian Lee said.
Like many other sports, cross country runners are highly encouraged to get tested twice a week. “Currently the district has put together a testing program with Healthy Davis Together, as an incentive to get athletes tested on a regular basis,” Groth said. With getting tested at least once a week, this will help to ensure safer practices and hopefully slow the spread of the virus.
Overall, many changes to the way they do meets have happened in order to ensure the current season happens. However, despite all the changes, athletes choose to continue to look towards the brighter sides of things.
“I feel like the new changes for [cross country] meets are OK, I feel like everyone is just happy to have some kind of race and be able to get times,” junior Ben Norton said.