As coronavirus continues to rear its ugly, infectious head with steadily increased numbers of positive cases across Maine, the pandemic has had another devastating affect on high school fall sports.

The latest is cross country as the Maine Principals' Association, which governs member high schools' varsity sports, has announced the state championship races, scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 11 (boys) and Saturday, Nov. 14 (girls) at Saxl Park in Bangor, have been canceled.

"It is with regret that the Maine Principals’ Association announces the cancellation of the 2020 state cross-country championships," said Mike Bisson, the organization's assistant executive director announced on Monday, Nov. 9. "Please know that this was not a decision that was taken lightly, but one that the leadership at the MPA felt necessary to take based on a couple of major of concerns."

Bisson said there is a "concern of bringing students together from all parts of Maine through state-wide travel as we are experiencing a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Maine."

He said, additionally, the new state mandate for student-athletes to wear masks throughout the competition also created safety concerns.

"Many cross-country runners have not been acclimatized to wearing the mask while competing in a high stakes race since the mandate took place last Friday [Nov. 6]. This is a concern for the health and safety of the student-athletes."

Bisson said, "We received a great deal of feedback from school administrators and coaches regarding this meet and all concerns were heard. We also know that there will be a great deal of disappointment from those scheduled to compete in this race."

The Camden Hills girls team of Jenna VanRyn, Claire Wyman, Lauren Howland, Zoe O'Brien, Elise Hildreth, Rose O'Brien and Addie Cortese was to compete in the Class A race, while Oceanside's Maria Protheroe was to run in the Class B race.

Those Midcoast student-athletes qualified to participate, but when Knox County went to the state's "yellow" designation on Friday, Nov. 6, those schools, and student-athletes, were no longer able to compete in the state meets.

Then, three days later, the MPA canceled the meets.

Prior to that, Medomak Valley of Waldoboro, Belfast and Searsport distance athletes were unable to compete in league meets due to oronavirus-releated issues in their schools or county.

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