XC: How Is This Season Different?

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Kaitlyn Espinola, Journalist

This year, most highschool sports seasons look different. Due to new covid precautions and regulations, athletes are having to endure new challenges and obstacles when it comes to training and competing. The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has even stated some sports are not having a season at all. Ripon High’s cross country team has been training since early summer, finding new ways to train and keep athletes at their best despite the numerous obstacles that have become prevalent along the way. 

Under normal circumstances, the cross country season starts in September and ends around November. Practices and conditioning starts mid summer and leads right up to the first meet, usually with few breaks in between. There is normally one meet per week and seven meets in all. Frosh soph runs first, and 30 minutes later the girls varsity run. The last to run are boys varsity. Typically, multiple teams compete against each other during a meet. Parents are also allowed to spectate during races. Meets normally last around an hour and thirty minutes. 

With new rules and regulations in place, this season looks like no other. Summer practices proceeded as normal, only to be shut down for about a month. Between the first practice and first meet, there have been quite a few occasions where practices were forced to stop by the CIF. The season was put off until February, almost a whole six months after the usual start of the season. Even though parents are still allowed to spectate from a distance, significantly less come out to support. One of the biggest differences is the number of schools competing. Instead of every school running at once, there’s only two schools competing at once. 

Runners all seem to have different viewpoints of the situation regarding the new regulations in place this season. Freshman runner Alyson Harvey states, “I am enjoying this season because I’m staying in shape while making new friends. I feel involved and a part of the school.” Her response is quite contrary to junior runner Annie Wild, who stated, “It feels more difficult  to accomplish as much this season. There are less spectators and we’ve been losing teammates.”

Despite new challenges, runners and coaches have persevered and found ways to have the best season possible. While it’s not the season anyone was hoping for, Ripon High’s athletes are grateful just to be able to compete at all this year.