The New Mexico Activities Association has released the cross country guidelines for the 2020 season. The guidelines as they are stated emphasize crowd limiting, social distancing, and mask requirements for all in attendance (athletes included). Athletes competing while wearing at least some sort of face shield/mask is a huge takeaway in terms of how this may affect performances across the board. For the time being, farewell to enormous meets that would see 20 plus teams in attendance as a cap of 100 people for athletes, coaches, and event workers while no spectators will be allowed to attend a competition. It is likely to see varsity teams limited to no more than ten teams competing whether that be all boys/girls teams or five boys and girls teams competing at any single race.
The use of staggered start times will be essential in ensuring every athlete gets an opportunity to compete. We could be seeing meets being stretched into an all-day affair with varsity, junior varsity and C-team runners shuffling in and out from boys and girls squads. Courses will also see a remodel as 6ft wide of distance must be maintained throughout the entirety of the course. Those bunched up finish line chutes will be gone as the focus will be on getting runners out of the area as soon as they have completed the race. As for the overall experience, expect the comradery of cross country to be slightly nerfed this season as a family, friends, and teammates will not be able to cheer on competitors and must remain out of the vicinity during meet day. athletes are required to remain on the bus or in their cars until the time to warm up for their race. immediately following the completion of their race they will be required to shuffle back on the busses/cars. The festival-like atmosphere we have come to embrace with cross country will have to be put on hold for the time being. Below are the full guidelines as stated by the New Mexico Activities Association.
All guidelines subject to change per the Governor's orders.*
NMAA Cross Country Guidelines for 2020-2021 Season
- Cross Country Meets are limited to 100 people per event. This includes athletes, coaches, and event workers. No spectators will be allowed into competitions.
- Per the Governor's rules, masks or face shields must be worn by everyone in attendance at this time. Athletes participating must wear a mask or face shield during competition. If someone is not wearing a mask or face shield, a doctor's note is required for exemption. Masks cannot be removed during competition and thrown on the course at any time.
- Restrooms must be provided and sanitized after each use. If you are the host of the meet, you are responsible for providing workers to consistently sanitize the restrooms.
- Team camps are eliminated at competitions. All teams must remain in their busses or cars until it is time to warm up and get ready for their races. Following each race, teams must immediately cool down and retreat back to their busses or vehicles.
- Teams are allowed to show up at the starting line no sooner than 15 minutes prior to the start of the race. There should be no congregating at the starting line before the 15- minute mark.
- Starting lines must provide six feet of spacing between teams to allow for proper social distancing at the start of the race.
- The course must be a minimum of six feet wide throughout the entire length of the course.
- There should be no finish line chute at the end of the race to prevent gathering at the finish line. Once a runner is finished competing he/she must exit the finish line area immediately.
- No awards ceremonies should take place at the conclusion of each race, in order to prevent a mass gathering.
- Each athlete will have to be responsible for his/her own water during the cross country meet. No shared water bottles will be allowed. Coaches may wait at the finish line and provide their own athletes with their own water bottles at the finish line.
- If you choose to host a staggered start time meet, make sure all teams know there will not be an awards ceremony at the conclusion of the day, but that you will communicate results to all coaches at the conclusion of the races.