Cross country coaches and athletes just want the opportunity.
Tuesday was previously set to be the start of the fall prep sports season with the first day of football practice. But that was adjusted a few weeks ago due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as the WIAA Board of Control voted to tweak the starting dates for fall sports.
Cross country, girls tennis, girls golf and girls swimming are currently set to start Aug. 17 while football, volleyball and boys soccer is slated to begin Sept. 7.
Sports across the board may be operating in a more conference-based way this fall and Chi-Hi cross country coach Roger Skifstad said the Big Rivers Conference has already discussed a conference-only schedule for the fall. The coaches met recently and talked through the protocols needed to help make it work.
“We think if we’re allowed to have a season we have a pretty good handle on what we’re going to do safety wise,” Skifstad said.
Skifstad said the conference may have two ‘trial run’ events on the same day with the Big Rivers holding events in Eau Claire and Menomonie in preparation for the full 7-school events later in the season.
Spectators would be allowed at events, but social distancing and face covering protocols would be expected.
Tuesday marked the final summer contact day for the Chi-Hi program as the start of the season nears. Skifstad set up a 1-mile time trial run at the Chippewa Falls Middle School for the last day with loops around the athletic fields at the school to get the competitive juices flowing. Skifstad said the coaches and parents miss the high school competition just like the kids do, but Tuesday’s time trial provided a little competition with more hopefully on the horizon in the coming weeks.
“Everyone is just starving for a little competition,” Skifstad said. “I feel bad, I didn’t bring my starter’s gun. You’ve got the finish line clock, you’ve got the music, you’ve the ready, set, go, you’ve got people spread out.”
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