ENTERPRISE — Running in the snow, should it come to that, isn’t a concern for Wallowa Valley head coach Dan Moody.
What is, though, is the current limit on the number of teams who can compete in cross-country.
To date, the Oregon Health Authority has a two-team limitation in place for the sports, restricting cross-country races and meets to just duals.
“It’s ridiculous. How can you do a cross-country dual meet?” Moody asked. “There is a way around it that adds a lot of work.”
The Oregon School Activities Association announced last week it was moving forward with cross-country in counties that were not at extreme risk, meaning Wallowa County could resume the sport. But the current limitation does hurt what the cross-country team can do.
One option being considered, Moody said, to have a meet of sorts is to stagger start times. He said if, for example, Enterprise hosted an eight-team meet, two teams could arrive at 10 a.m. and race. When they completed their race and had departed, two others could arrive and run the same course, and so on. It would make for a longer day for those organizing the race, but could allow an option for everyone to run the same course.
“Whatever we can do, we’re going to do. If it means more work on our part, it’s going to be more work on our part,” Moody said. “I wish we could have a regional meet (even with bigger schools). At least it would give the kids something. They like to know they are working for something.”
OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber said it has been in contact with the OHA about the two-team limit.
“We did communicate our concerns with that, and I think there is a chance that can be changed,” he said last week. “Until it comes out in writing, we don’t know.”
Wallowa Valley runner Zac Knapp said that while the two-team limit hurts, just getting races run will be a plus.
“That takes away from the competition aspect personally, and in terms for COVID, for cross-country that is less of a risk factor,” he said. “It’ll be good to get races in, anyways.”
Teammate Bayden Menton had a similar view.
“It definitely limits the competition that we can have at each of the meets, but in my opinion it’s better than nothing,” he said. “If that is what we have to do to be able to run that is OK with me, even if it means that competition isn’t what it normally would have been.”
Henry Coughlan added potentially having part of the season in the snow will be a challenge, but not one that can’t be overcome.
“I knew it would be tough and it’s going to be tough just with accessibility to facilities and stuff like that, just having to push through mentally,” he said. “That’s the good thing I do like about cross-country, you have those 10 guys you go on a run with, you are laughing and talking the whole way, it switches your brain to where you don’t think about the cold weather.”
Teams can start competing the week of March 1. The season will be five weeks, with a sixth culminating week during the week of April 5.