As it looks like winter sports in Arizona will most likely be pushed back to a January start date rather than now, it makes the spring sports once again hold their collective breath on if and when track and field will get a chance to compete this spring.
COVID-19 numbers are on the rise all throughout the US, including Arizona. As this is being written, Arizona has 3,206 new cases, 53 deaths, and 16,504 new tests reported today.
If winter sports are moved back to January, what does that mean for an end date for the winter season? And if how late of a start date will track and field, along with other spring sports, get in spring? There are many unanswered questions and it feels like Groundhog Day for high school spring sports in Arizona once again.
Hopefully, we will get a track and field season in some fashion or another this spring. But if we do have a late start, here are some ideas to make this season work for all of the athletes:
- Use a Diamond League format for meets - i.e., meets do not have every event, but pare it down where there may be, for example, a 100 m and not a 200 m, a 1600 m and not the 3200 m, the long jump and not the triple jump, etc. This will shorten the meet for one, which lessens the chance of spreading the virus.
- No big invitationals. Keep "invitationals" maybe to 8-10 teams max (3-4 athletes per school per event).
- More 2-day meets or at least a morning session and afternoon session.
- Make dual meets count for State-Qualifying standards for non-sprinting events and/or allow handheld sprint times to be adjusted to automatic marks, appropriately.
- Coordinated simultaneous virtual meets - schools stay on their own track and compete against other schools that are own their own track (this would be probably our least favorite choice and only if COVID numbers were sky high throughout the spring).
What ideas do you have?
While we hope none of this has to happen, we should plan for a worst-case scenario. We would greatly enjoy getting your feedback and hearing what you think we could or should do if our season is shortened or is up against high COVID numbers.
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject line: Spring Track Ideas