Northwest cross country junior Jake Norris (right) runs with teammates at practice in Bearcat Stadium every day. The team was preparing for its upcoming meet Oct. 30, but the Bearcats are unable to train together due to a few athletes testing positive for COVID-19.

Northwest cross country is set to compete in a makeshift MIAA meet Oct. 30 in Wichita, Kansas, but more than half of the men’s team is in quarantine due to COVID-19.

As of last week, two runners on the men’s team tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the program's junior runner Jake Norris. This put most of the team in quarantine because many of them live together and interact with one another.

Some of the team has been in quarantine before, but with less than three weeks until the meet, the Bearcats could face some personnel issues.

“I think they’ll be ready,” Northwest coach Nick Gibson said about the men. “Everyone spent months of quarantining before and came back in really good shape, so two weeks will be nothing.”

Gibson has had a training regimen set for the team since school started, and the guys buy into his program. The team holds each other accountable, which allows for the runners to make sure everyone is staying safe.

Senior Tucker Dahle and Norris are roommates, and quarantine has forced them to take a break from training. Their whole house is on the team, leaving them and their roommates with nothing to do for two weeks.

“I don’t think this will do us any harm,” Dahle said. “The guys hold each other accountable, and we will be ready to go when we can get out.”

The team has roughly a week left in quarantine, allowing them for a week of training before they compete.

“We are released on the 20th to go back to full practice and school,” Dahle said.

Cross country is considered a low-risk sport to contract COVID-19, according to the NCAA. The Bearcats felt like they had done a good job of staying safe up until the outbreak. Aside from going to classes and being around other students, the runners have kept to themselves, training for the upcoming meet and track and field in the spring.

“We have done a good job of staying safe, because we try not to go and do things,” Norris said. “We focus on our running as much as we can so we can compete at our highest level.”

Once the runners are out of quarantine, they will jump right back into training for their outing in Wichita.

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