WPIAL XC Championships Will Not Be At Cal U. This Year

Add the WPIAL to the list of districts in Pennsylvania that is searching for a replacement site for a 5K championship cross country race in 2020.

According to an e-mail sent late Friday afternoon by WPIAL Executive Director Amy Scheuneman to the district's athletic directors, District 7 officials were informed "that California University will not be able to host" this year's championships races scheduled for October 29. Scheuneman wrote that the e-mail, which was obtained by PennTrackXC and carried a subject line of 2020 Cross Country Information, was sent "to keep everyone informed and address some of the 'rumors' circling out there."

District 7's new leader stated that officials "are in the process of seeking and securing" a replacement meet site.

"This, coupled with not knowing what the gathering restrictions will be at the end of October, may force us to host the Championship races on two different days," she continued. "Please be prepared for races on either Wednesday, October 28th or Thursday, October 29th."

In late July, officials at CalU decided to cancel the season-opening Marty Uher Invitational, one of three meets run over the past several years on the demanding 5,000-meter layout at Roadman Park. At that time, university officials said a decision "will probably be made in September" on the status of the Tri-State Coaches meet originally set for October 22. That meet also is now looking for a new home in the wake of the global pandemic.

District 10 in northwest Pennsylvania also is in the process of finding an alternate to longtime meet venue Buhl Park in Sharon. Meet director Barb Dzuricsko completed site visits in late August to locations that might serve as the gathering point for the district's top distance runners on October 31.

In addition to approving the location, District 10 officials also could be considering a new qualification system for 2020 as Dzuricsko was directed to look at ways to create smaller fields to help keep athletes safe and healthy. Similar options are being considered throughout the PIAA, Dzuricsko said.

In her e-mail, Scheuneman said details and WPIAL meet information "will be released at the beginning of October." She also stated that the "current process for qualifying" for the District 7 meet "has not changed," adding that a restriction might be placed on the number of non-participating athletes attending.

The e-mail went on to state that the PIAA has not decided "on how many teams and/or individuals" will earn the right to run for state titles in Hershey on November 7, with details expected "by the end of the month." District meets historically have kicked off on the next-to-last Saturday in October.