COVID-19 has caused a change in the site of the state cross country championships.
Idaho High School Activities Association executive director Ty Jones confirmed the state title races are moving from Eagle Island State Park to the Portneuf Wellness Center in Pocatello.
Idaho State Parks and Recreation told the IHSAA that the state meets couldn’t be held at Eagle Island because the Central District Health has Ada County in the “red” category, Jones said.
Portneuf Wellness Center was site of the 2019 state championship meets.
“It’s unfortunate because our kids and coaches loved being (at Eagle Island),” Jones said. “We had to make a decision because we’re two weeks away (from state). The main part is we couldn’t guarantee two weeks out that we could use Eagle Island with the numbers (fans/athletes) that we needed it for. For lack of a better term we’re hedging our bets. Spectators are a piece of it too.”
It won’t be a traditional state meet either. The races are being held over two days, Oct. 30 and Oct. 31, instead of one because Portneuf Wellness Center has a Halloween Party scheduled, Jones said.
The 5A, 4A and 3A state meets will be held on Oct. 30 with the 2A and 1A meets on Oct. 31. This also will allow for fans and athletes to be cleared out and admitted between races, Jones said.
The IHSAA has also secured an alternate state site to the alternate site. If things pandemic spikes in Pocatello, the meets will be moved to Ridgevue High School, Jones said.
“It’s been an interesting time,” Jones said. “Our main goal from the very beginning was to get kids participating again. If we’re able to get our fall activities in in the next three or four weeks I’ll feel very fortunate.”
Borah coach Tim Severa said the 5A and 4A district meets, originally scheduled for Eagle Island, will be held next week at Ridgevue.
“They’ve been hosting a few meets there and there’s a large area with soccer and baseball fields,” Severa said. “(Ridgevue coach) Jon Wright has designed a course that would be COVID friendly. They’re going to allow spectators, two per family.”
The 4A meets will be Thursday with the girls race starting at 4:30, followed by the boys at 5:15. The same schedule applies for the 5A races on Friday.
The 2A and 1A district meets also were scheduled for Eagle Island. Those will be held on Wednesday at West Park in Nampa.
The 3A district meets are Tuesday at Rolling Hills Golf Course in Weiser.
Jones said the state soccer and volleyball tournaments are set to go with minor tweaks in the time schedules. “We’ve built in time so they can clear the venues between matches,” Jones said. … State football championship games will be held at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow and other various high school sites, but not at Dona Larsen Park or Holt Arena. “We’ll play at home sites through the semifinals, but no school will be allowed to play on its home field in a state championship game. We’re looking at turf fields because of the weather.” And Jones hopes fans will be allowed to attend title games. “At the end of the day it’s getting those kids to participate,” Jones said. “We’d definitely prefer fans in the stands, but not at the risk of not letting the kids play. That’s first and foremost.”