Northwest cross country spent the entirety of the summer wondering if it'd get the chance to compete in the spring.
The MIAA announced Aug. 14 that all fall sports were suspended until at least Jan. 1, 2021.
A recent reversal of that decision has the Bearcats readying for competition as early as this fall.
The Bearcats are able to do this because the MIAA is allowing the schools to choose whether they want to compete against other schools or not. Northwest is taking advantage of this opportunity and putting its athletes in the meet.
“We got word we are going to have a conference meet, not associated with the MIAA, and those who get in the top 40% in each conference qualify for a non-NCAA nationals meet,” Northwest junior Jake Norris said.
The meet will be hosted by MIAA member Newman Oct. 30 in Wichita, Kansas. The top teams from that meet will compete in the DII National Invitational Nov. 14 in Lubbock, Texas.
The nationals meet will not be in association with the NCAA, as the NCAA has canceled all Division II fall championships for the 2020-21 school year.
The Bearcats have been in training for the past few weeks, preparing for the upcoming track and field season. Even though they’ve been training for track and field, the athletes who are in cross country are now putting miles on their legs to prepare them for this conference meet.
“We have been training for this potential season with the main focus on indoor,” Norris said. “But now, we are holding off on indoor work for the remainder of cross country season.”
With this being said, some of the Bearcats have indifferent emotions of this fall season happening. Instead of pushing it off, they have been able to implement workouts for both the fall and spring.
“I have mixed emotions about the season, even though it is very exciting to get the opportunity to compete. The back and forth of whether or not we’ll be racing this season has been extremely emotionally exhausting,” senior Keely Danielson said. “I, personally, am in the process of returning to running after being quarantined, so the idea of racing in less than a month is a little overwhelming.”
This abrupt decision to compete has changed the way the Bearcats are going about their fall. Some are coming off of quarantine, and others have been able to train the whole time. No matter which category each athlete falls into, the ’Cats feel they are prepared for what is ahead.
“We had our best work ever last Friday on the track,” Norris said. “So I feel both the men’s and women’s team are ready.”
Danielson mentioned that their team workouts haven’t been any different than they would have been if the Bearcats were having regularly scheduled competition this fall. Besides some setbacks, the Bearcats feel they are more than prepared to head into this meet.
As they move forward to prepare for this meet, they feel they don’t need to change much about their daily routine. They look forward to competing this fall, and in their spring season of track and field.
“Cross country provides a base for distance runners in track,” Norris said. “So even though we’re doing cross country workouts, they still benefit us for track in the spring.”