This is a developing article. Updated Thursday morning with clarifications. We are talking with Daniel Brooks of the SCHSL Thursday.
Better later than never.
- End of this article - Watch a video with SCHSL commissioner Jerome Singleton
- First practice date is Aug. 24
- First meet can be held Sept. 7
The South Carolina High School League's Executive Committee approved a newly revised plan for the fall sports season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in a meeting held on Wednesday.
What this means for cross country in the state is a first practice date of Aug. 24 with the first scrimmage a week later. The season opening meet will be held on Sept. 7. The season is scheduled to last seven weeks. The original plan called for the first practice on Aug. 17.
As for state qualifying meets, the proposal is the meets will be held on two dates at two locations. Each qualifier will have two races per gender. Each qualifier will consist of 12 teams with the top six from each race moving on to the state meet. Twelve teams from each classification will be eligible for the state meet. Individuals will advance separate from teams.
The plan will be discussed and finalized in a Zoom meeting next week, according to Riverside coach Eric Cummings.
Cummings said that the newly revised plan will give schools an opportunity to catch up that have not been able to conduct workouts in the summer.
"With Greenville County being shut down since the middle of June, it gives us two weeks to participate in Phase 1.5," he said. "Within two weeks (the plan) has changed again, and we just want to get started and can work out."
Cummings added that certain cross country meets will be "varsity only." Teams will also have to adhere to heat guidelines that were already in place for athletes' safety when practicing.
The proposed 4A qualifier is set to be held on Friday, Oct. 30 at Crooked Creek Park in Chapin. The 1A/2A qualifier will be on Oct. 31 at the same location.
The proposed 3A qualifier will be on Oct. 30, followed by the 5A qualifier on Oct. 31 at Sandhills.
A committee from the SCTCCCA and SCHSL will meet on Oct. 25 to determine the teams for state qualifiers. The criteria will be based on team average for the entire season's meets. The top 24 will qualify with odd number teams in one meet and even teams in a second meet.
Team average is based on the average time of its fastest runner. Each runner and team must compete in two races to be eligible (view scrunners 2019 team average rankings).
No Greenville County teams are allowed to travel out of state (correction from earlier that said the entire state). There will also be no overnight trips allowed during the season for Greenville County schools.
SCTCCCA president Chris White is hopeful the plan is able to be carried out and the season will be uninterrupted.
"Most cross country coaches already had a plan ready and can roll with these changes easily," he said. "Scheduling meets will be the hardest thing. I hate to see any kid lose a season. I went through that with track in the spring and hope that doesn't happen again."
Watch the Wednesday press conference with Jerome Singleton, SCHSL commissioner