© 2021 Maine Public
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Maine State Cross-Country Championships Canceled Amid COVID-19 Surge

Glendon Rand
Via Bangor Daily News
In this October 2019 photo, runners try to get a jump on the field during the Maine Cross Country Festival of Champions in Belfast.

With cases of COVID-19 skyrocketing across the state, the Maine Principals’ Association has canceled the state’s high school cross-country championship competitions scheduled for later this week.

MPA Assistant Executive Director Mike Bisson says his organization sought advice from state health officials after hearing from many schools worried about traveling and participating in the meets with rising daily case rates.

Bisson says the new mask mandate announced by the Mills administration last week further complicated the issue, as he says face coverings hadn’t been required for high school runners all year.

“I think if they had been training that way, all throughout the year, it would have been less of an issue. But to implement this, and have them compete in a championship-level race a few days later, certainly raised some safety concerns for us,” he says. “The number of cases rising, when it did, was just terrible timing for this whole thing, to be honest with you. Because that led to the mask mandate, as well. It was kind of the chicken and the egg at that point, and both were legitimate issues for us.”

Bisson says the meets were the last scheduled events for Maine’s fall high school athletics season.

Last week, the state announced that practices for the winter season could begin in mid-December for some sports, with games potentially starting in January.