The photo above is from the 2019 North Coast Section 3200m final for the girls. While some optimistic coaches held hope that a similar competition might take place in the upcoming Track and Field season, an update from the NCS office gives a little more clarity on what will potentially take place the rest of the school year for both Cross Country and Track and Field.
To summarize, both Cross Country and Track and Field are in the purple tier. Those two sports along with three other sports (Tennis, Swimming and Diving, and Golf) will be the first sports to proceed forward with a truncated season once they are given the go-ahead by their respective counties and school administration. In addition...
a) No sports will practice and/or compete before February 1st.
b) There will be no section or statewide competition.
c) Students can compete in only one sport at a time.
d) Competitions can only start after the stay at home order is lifted.
e) All teams have to continue to follow CDPH guidelines such as wearing masks, staying 6 feet apart etc.
f) NCS schools will be able to reach out to teams in their county as well as adjacent counties and teams in their own league to put together a competitive schedule.
g) The final date which will be relevant to only Track and Field in our case is June 12th.
Seasons will be 7-10 weeks in length and from speaking with some section coaches, the best opportunities for Cross Country competition will be dual or perhaps tri-meets held on school grounds. Many years ago, dual meets hosted by schools on campuses throughout California were quite common and now coaches will more than likely have to dig up those maps to give their athletes an opportunity to compete. Local parks that have previously hosted many top invitationals and league competitions are not currently approving permits for potential races.
So what does that mean for some of the top Track and Field athletes in the section? Unlike last spring, athletes will get opportunities to race other high schoolers in smaller official races. Some of the coaches of elite athletes like John Lester of Amador Valley (on the right), Samantha Wallenstrom of Marin Catholic, and Harper McClain of St. Helena, may have to get creative with some of their competitions like they did during last spring in order to give them the best opportunities to record outstanding marks.
Lastly, the loss of the section and statewide competition is certainly a tough loss for so many athletes and coaches but the potential for competition, no matter how small, can only help in keeping many of our young athletes motivated to train during this very unique time.