HAYFIELD, Minn. - If it were a normal year, schedule changes would have been an athletic director's worst nightmare. This year, it is how to safely host athletic events in the midst of a global health pandemic.
Hayfield Activities Director, Chris Pack, says even with the challenges brought on this year it’s exciting to know the kids can finally compete.
“It feels good. It’s a chance for the kids to get out and compete,” he said. “Even though we don’t have volleyball and football, we do have a number of kids out for cross country and it’s a big day for them tomorrow to get a chance to get out and finally compete.”
While Thursday is highly anticipated by Hayfield cross country runners, Pack says there are a lot of changes to be expected.
“The number of people that can start at the beginning of the race is different and obviously the social distancing you have to try to keep with the fans. You can only have 250 fans as well so there’s a few things that will certainly be different.”
High school meets in Minnesota are only permitted to have three teams so there are more home meets for the Vikings this season. Pack says that led the school to host meets on campus for the first time in years.
“We host three times now. We usually only host one meet and we do it at our golf course, the Elks, but having three of them, we didn’t want to burden them more than we already do,” Pack said. “To take two nice afternoons in September is tough so we created a course here on campus.”
Pack says the athletes don’t care where they run so long as they get to have a season.
“We’ve got a number of kids who are out for cross country for the first time because they’re football or volleyball players and wanted to do something so they’re going out for cross country. It’s great to see we’ve got over 30 kids out which is almost twice as many as we had last year so I know they’re excited.”
At Thursday’s meet, junior high starts at 4:30 with varsity races following at 5:00 and 5:30. Junior varsity will follow at 6:00.