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High school cross country

Waldo County's 'yellow' distinction forces races from Belfast

Troy Howard Middle School was to host league, state championships, but meets moved due to coronavirus increase
By Ken Waltz and Mark Haskell | Oct 23, 2020

Belfast — COVID-19-related changes seemingly happen daily — often hour to hour — and the pandemic has caused the cancellation of one county's fall high school athletic seasons and one secondary educational institution's planned ability to host large postseason cross-country meets.

Due to the recent increases in positive coronavirus cases in Waldo County, the Maine Department of Education has deemed the county in the "yellow" zone which, essentially, means high schools in the county should no longer, among other things, continue their interscholastic athletic competitions.

And, in trickle-down fashion, cross-country championship meets originally scheduled at a Belfast school will move to other venues.

The Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B meet was scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 31 at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, while the same venue was to host the state Class A, B and C championships meets on Wednesday, Nov. 11 and Saturday, Nov. 14.

The KVAC meet, which could include Midcoast teams from Oceanside of Rockland, Medomak Valley of Waldoboro and Belfast, has been relocated to Quarry Road in Waterville.

Additional information regarding the new KVAC arrangements will be forthcoming.

There has been no official word on where the state races will be run.

Spectators are not allowed at any of the postseason races.

On Friday, Oct. 23, Waldo County was designated "yellow" by the department of education. Under the current guidelines, any county designated "yellow" should suspend interscholastic sports until the county returns to "green." The education department will keep Waldo County "yellow" for a minimum of 14 days.

The department of education has three designations, including "green," "yellow" and "red."

Categorization as “red” suggests a county has a high risk of COVID-19 spread. Categorization as “yellow” suggests a the county has an elevated risk of COVID-19 spread, while categorization as “green” suggests a county has a relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread.

THMS, a fan-friendly venue, annually hosts large meets, including the Festival of Champions, which includes teams from around New England and Canada.

In fact, THMS hosted the parred down festival in recent weeks.

The Maine Principals’ Association announced on Friday, Oct. 16 the state championships for Classes A, B and C would be at THMS, with the boys races run on Wednesday, Nov. 11 and girls on Saturday, Nov. 14.

The race times were the same for both events as Class C was to compete at 9:30 a.m., Class A at noon and Class B at 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, so there will be no scheduled classes for students. Thus, the day is open for the boys event.

However, those events will be moved to another venue to be announced.

In addition, the KVAC championships are on Saturday, Oct. 31 at two venues.

The league Class A championships will be at Cony High School in Augusta, with the boys to race at 10 a.m. and girls at 11:45 a.m. Camden Hills of Rockport will participate in this event.

In order to comply with the state’s ordinance of no more than 100 people for outdoor events, the girls teams will congregate on the Cony High School football field and will not move to the race area until the boys have dispersed following their race.

KVAC Class A will send its top four teams (7 runners each) and top four individuals from schools that do not qualify as a team to the state championships.

The league Class B championships has been moved to Waterville, with the boys to race at 10 a.m. and the girls at 12:30 p.m. Oceanside of Rockland, Belfast and Medomak Valley of Waldoboro can participate in this event, but there is a question if Lion student-athletes will participate.

KVAC Class B will send its top three teams (7 runners each) and top two individuals from schools that do not qualify as a team to the state championships.

The Penobscot Valley Conference championships and state qualifier will be at Saxl Park in Bangor, with the Class C boys to race at 9 a.m. and Class C girls at 11:15 a.m. Searsport will participate in this event.

The girls teams will congregate across the street from Saxl Park in the parking lot of the United Technologies Center and will not move to the race area until the boys have dispersed following their race.

PVC Class C will send its top three teams (7 runners each) and top two individuals from schools that do not qualify as a team to the state championships.

Regional events, where runners typically qualify for state championships, will not be held this year. Thus, conference championship events, for this season, will be where teams and individuals can potentially qualify for the states.

Fans will not be permitted at conference or state events, but the MPA hopes to provide livestream for state championship races.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

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