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Northam eases restrictions on cross country meets

Northam eases restrictions on cross country meets

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Glenvars (5919) Carly Wilkes and (5913) Rachel Millirons jump out to a quick start in the VHSL Groups 2A Region C Championships.

Gov. Ralph Northam amended COVID-19 restrictions to allow more than 50 runners at a time on a cross country course. That will allow the state championship meets happening this week in Roanoke County to release the entire field at once rather than in smaller waves.

There will be no governor restricting the pace of the VHSL cross country championships.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday amended an executive order allowing more competitors on cross country courses at the same time.

As a result, all 68 runners in the six boys and six girls state meets this week will be allowed to run in one pack rather than in two “waves.”

Until Monday, there was a cap of no more than 50 runners at a time on the course.

The plan for the Class 3, Class 2 and Class 1 meets at Green Hill Park on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday was to have the top five runners on each team and the top two individual finishers frmo each region — 48 runners — starting first, followed by the remaining 20 contestants.

The Class 6, 5 and 4 meets will be run at Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg, beginning Thursday.

“That made our life much better,” said Tommy Maguire, meet director at Green Hill.

“Originally we had a three-way system in place. Then April 1st when [Northam] opened it up to 50 people at once we had a two-way in place. He gave us special permission to run everybody at once.”

There will still be a two-hour gap between each race to clear the course for COVID-19 protocol. The girls meets begin at 1 p.m., followed by the boys at 3:30.

“The girls will be on the course. The girls fans will be on the course,” Maguire said. “After the girls race, they’ll clear out and the boys fans will show up for the boys race.

“We’re not going to do award pictures like we’ve done in the past. We’re just going to put the awards in a bag for the coaches. If they want to go somewhere else in the park and take a picture, we have no control over that.”

Contact Robert Anderson at robert.anderson@roanoke.com or 981-3123

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