For the first time in nearly 11 months, Colusa County athletes will participate in an actual competitive event when the Colusa High School Cross Country team hosts the Sutter Huskies today at the Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area, marking the first bright spot since the COVID-19 pandemic brought high school sports to a grinding halt.
As one of the first athletic events held in the Northern Section this school year, it brings some welcome relief and a glimmer of hope to athletes and coaches who have been adhering to protocol and engaging in limited practice opportunities according to Colusa athletic director Eric Lay.
“We’re excited for our cross country team to get the go ahead to begin county and bordering county meets. The athletes and coaches have been training on and off since the beginning of September with various safety guidelines and cohort protocols. We’re grateful that our county health department signed off on activities listed in the purple tier and we can’t wait to get started. We’ll begin our competitions with schools that are ready to go while other teams in our league and bordering counties get their programs up and running. It’s a testament to the dedication of our coaches, athletes and school district that our cross country team is ready to compete right away,” Lay said.
Colusa’s varsity boys are the defending NSCIF Division V champions and after losing just two members off last year’s squad are looking forward to defending their title and are thankful for the opportunity as co-coach Darren Townzen explained.
“I’m excited that the kids get a chance to run. We will follow all of the CIF guidelines, and I hope that by following the guidelines everyone will be safe. We are grateful for all of the people who have worked to give the runners this chance,” said Townzen.
Changes in the logistics of the meet will include staggered or interval starts, an enlarged finish area, while mandatory wearing of masks and social distancing will also be maintained at all times except for those directly engaged in the competition.
Should the event and others like it be successful, it could potentially set the stage for the return of other outdoor sports, with golf looking to be the next in line as both the RedHawks and the Pierce Bears are working to put together teams which could hit the links as early as next week.