A winter track and field season in Pennsylvania is coming together little by little, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
PTFCA president Ron Lopresti shared with PennTrackXC plans for a winter season that will look much different than normal, but could present an opportunity for competitions to take place in the Keystone State, starting after the new year.
Plans for now are fluid and could change at any moment, particularly if the governor implements more restrictions, but the PTFCA -- along with some member organizations -- have some tentative ideas for making the season a reality amid the pandemic.
"The governor could shut things down without any problem and that would be the end of that," Lopresti said.
Individual school districts could also restrict schools from attending meets this season, as was the case during the cross country season.
Here are some of the updates that Lopresti told PennTrackXC:
No Word Yet On The PTFCA Indoor State Championships
The fate of the PTFCA Indoor State Championship meet is still up in the air. Lopresti said that Penn State University, which hosts the indoor state meet, has not yet made a decision in regards to the usage of their Multi-Sport Facility for the second semester. Whether or not Penn State opens its doors could determine whether or not there is a state meet.
"The state meet is in serious jeopardy," Lopresti added.
Lopresti said he spoke with most colleges and universities in Pennsylvania and all said "no" to hosting meets this winter, though that could possibly change.
Lopresti said he is open to accepting restrictions on number of entries that Penn State imposes if they are allowed in the facility. He is also open to separate "sessions" between boys and girls.
DVGTCA & TFCAofGP Meets Planned For Glen Mills
The two Philadelphia-area coaches' associations, the DVGTCA (girls) and the TFCAofGP (boys) have a set of meets planned for this winter, starting in January and running through February. The meets will be held on Fridays at Glen Mills, which is the only indoor track and field facility in the state of Pennsylvania that has allowed high school competition to take place, according to Lopresti.
Here are the association dates currently scheduled for Glen Mills:
- Friday, 1/8: DVGTCA
- Friday, 1/15: TFCAofGP
- Friday, 1/22: DVGTCA
- Friday, 1/29: TFCAofGP
- Friday, 2/5: DVGTCA
- Friday, 2/12: TFCAofGP
- Friday, 2/19: DVGTCA
- Friday, 2/26: TFCAofGP
The associations will have strict rules in place. They are as follows:
- No spectators will be allowed in the facility.
- Everyone in the facility must wear a mask at all times, including athletes who are competing.
- Temperatures will be checked when entering the facility.
PTFCA Carnival Set For Glen Mills, Too
The PTFCA Indoor Track Carnival is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 13 at Glen Mills with the boys competing in the morning from 9 A.M. until about 11:30 A.M. The girls will then compete after the boys, starting at 1 P.M. and running until about 4 P.M.
There will be a limited number of entries in each event. Lopresti speculated on about 15 in each event. There will be normal track events held, with the exception of relays, which will not be contested. There will be no high jump or pole vault, but there will be shot put, long jump, and triple jump.
The same safety protocols in place for the DVGTCA and TFCAofGP meets will be in place for the Carnival.
Edinboro Is Likely A No-Go For TSTCA Meets
Edinboro University -- like most indoor venues -- will likely not be hosting any indoor track and field, according to TSTCA head Ed Helbig. Edinboro is the sole indoor venue used by TSTCA schools during the winter for a full slate of meets.
There is interest, per Helbig, in schools hosting outdoor "polar bear" meets this winter, so we could expect to see some of those meets popping up this winter, weather permitting.
Helbig said that shot put and pole vault meets at Hempfield Area and Butler will still be happening this season.
Polar Bear & Out-Of-State Performances Will Be Accepted
With a lack of indoor facility accessibility, winter outdoor track and field performances, AKA polar bear meets, will be accepted for state meet qualification. Lopresti said the PTFCA will also accept performances from last winter for state meet qualification.
"Because of COVID-19 and the fact that none of the colleges are letting us into the facilities, outdoor polar bear meets would be allowed as long as they use the indoor events," Lopresti said.
The Ches-Mont League and Suburban One League have said that they will be hosting polar bear meets, according to Lopresti. District 3's Wilson has a series of polar bear meets on the PennTrackXC calendar and Holy Ghost Prep has a meet scheduled for Dec. 19.
Teams and individuals can still go out-of-state to get legal performances, at venues like The Armory, Ocean Breeze, Youngstown State, Virginia Beach, and Liberty University, which, among others, are planning on hosting indoor meets this winter.
Performances need to take place "in season" to count for state meet qualification. The winter season, per Lopresti, starts on Dec. 11 and runs through March 6, so any performances that took place before Dec. 11 would not be eligible for state qualification.
A conversion for polar bear performances to qualify for the indoor state meet is yet to be determined.
Most plans, for now, are tentative, but for now, it's looking encouraging that there will be some opportunities to compete, whether outdoors or at Glen Mills for indoor meets. There will be more to come as dates are solidified.
Got any more information to pass along? Want to add polar bear meets to the calendar? Contact site editor Dan Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or other information.