Written by Eric-Paul Johnson for pe.com
That is what Inland high school cross country coaches are hoping their runners will be given in the coming weeks.
On Dec. 14, the California Department of Public Health issued updated guidelines for youth sports, including when sports could resume competition based on the state’s color-tiered reopening plans.
The CDPH announcement also listed Jan. 25 as the earliest possible date to resume any competition. The CIF Southern Section is expected to give an update regarding a resumption of play on Jan. 19.
The majority of the state remains in the most-restrictive purple tier of the reopening plan, and cross country is the only sport in the restructured first season allowed to compete in that tier.
“There is a different vibe this week,” Yucaipa High coach Jason Carney said. “There are reasons to be positive about what might happen. I hope for the sake of these kids, a decision is made one way or another. It’s hard for them to remain upbeat mentally when things keep getting taken from them.”
Great Oak coach Doug Soles echoed those comments from Carney.
“I think everyone just wants to have a firm date right now,” Soles said. “You cant keep playing cat and mouse with these kids’ emotions without it having a lasting effect. What everyone wants is some sense of normalcy, and hopefully that can happen by giving them this opportunity again.”
What the season will look like, given the chance to proceed, is still unknown.
“There are a lot of lingering questions,” King coach Brad Peters said, “but those are things that we can look to solve as we go along. Let’s find out what is possible, and then build from there.”
Some teams will be more prepared than others if a season happens.
Great Oak and Yucaipa are among the teams that competed under a club banner during the fall and have now transitioned into preparing for a high school season. Claremont, on the other hand, has seen its workouts started and stopped a handful of times since the summer.
“Our kids get very excited about the chance to train together,” Claremont coach Bill Reeves said. “I think their spirits definitely would be boosted if they have the opportunity to have a season.”
Vista Murrieta boys coach Coley Candaele is hoping for positive news next week, as well. Candaele said if the Jan. 25 date is confirmed, he would make calls and try to schedule a dual meet for that day.
“We know the entire picture can change from day to day, so I wouldn’t want to miss any opportunity for them to compete again,” Candaele said. “These kids have been waiting for months and months to see some light at the end of the tunnel. But until they hear that gun fired the first time, it’s never going to be real for them.”