Runners

From left Section's Jennifer Vega, Pisgah's Kaylynn Morgan and Rylee Bell and North Jackson's Delana Pierce  run in a race last season. Starting with the 2021 season, the Alabama High School Athletic Association is moving up the start of cross country's sectionals and state meets by one week. 

High school cross country runners and coaches won’t have to wait as long to get into postseason competition starting in the 2021 season.

The Alabama High School Athletic Assocition’s Central Board of Control announced last week that it is moving the start of its postseason during the 2021 season up one week. 

The AHSAA set the high school cross country sectionals for the 2021 season to be Oct. 28-30, 2021 while the AHSAA Cross Country Championships will be Nov. 6, 2021.

By contrast, the 2020 cross country sectionals are scheduled for Nov. 5-7, 2020 while the state meet will be Nov. 14, 2020.

Coaches of Jackson County teams had no issues with the AHSAA moving the postseason forward one week in 2021.

“I think it is good for us,” said North Jackson coach Johnny Holman. “It will help those kids who are trying to finish (cross country) season and practice basketball at the same time.”

Skyline coach Rhonda Saint doesn’t foresee the move having “a big impact on the season.”

Scottsboro coach Luke Robinson and Pisgah coach Gus Hembree both liked the move because it means runners get an extra week before the start of the indoor track and field season in early December.

“I think it’s going to be a good thing to give our distance runners some more rest before (the) indoor (track and field season) ,” Robinson said. 

If the 2021 high school cross country season begins as it typically does on the next to last Saturday of August, teams would have just 10 Saturdays prior to the postseason starting. Teams are permitted 10 regular-season events.

“ It does crowd (the schedule) a bit,” Hembree said, “but it is doable.”

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