SCTCCCA President Provides Update after Season Canceled

There should be personal records falling right now.

There should be region champions and state qualifiers. There should also be a buzz in the air for an upcoming state meet.

The reality is none of that will be happening after the spring sports season saw its dim chances fizzle out after South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster canceled schools statewide for the remainder of the year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the news was nothing short of devastating, for seniors especially, the pieces left are trying to be slowly put back together. South Carolina Track and Cross Country Coaches Association (SCTCCCA) president Chris White, who is also head boys and girls track coach at Seneca High School said the news was expected although all involved held on to a glimmer of hope.

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"It was a really hard decision for the high school league to make," White said. "You could see on their faces they didn't want to make that decision. The first thing that hit me was that I feel sorry for my seniors. But we're moving on to the cross country season and trying to move forward."

White said the South Carolina Coaches Association has plans to move forward with its summer clinic. He added that collegiate coaches are currently being added to the list of guest speakers, including from Furman University.

White said that there will not be a track and field coach of the year named this year because of the short season. However, there will be an official of the year named at the summer meeting because the award comes from a combination of the cross country and track and field seasons.

White said the plan is to start the cross country season on time, which includes the running of the Eye Opener (watch 2019 races) at Milliken Research Center in Spartanburg. He added that the Coaches Classic will be moved to the same location on Oct. 10.

"We're really excited to have the Coaches Classic at Milliken," White said. "It's become so big that we had to have a place to accommodate a meet that size. Milliken can do that. We wanted a place that's familiar and help create some normalcy in a not so normal time."

White said that the focus currently is trying to finish the school year. Students across the state have been taking courses online since mid March after schools were ordered close because of the virus and potential danger it posed to spread amongst large gatherings of people in one place.

White said that a recent tornado in Seneca has also made finishing the year somewhat more difficult because of the damage it left behind.

"We've got some students without Chromebooks because they were destroyed in the tornado," he said.

White said the hope is to get past the coronavirus pandemic and return to school as normal this fall. The goal is to make it through the fall season and compete in state finals.

"The high school league is also working on a new course for the state meet," he said. "It will likely be in Columbia."