How The Cross Country Season Almost Ended Today For El Paso

Franklin senior Eva Jess is the 2019 UIL 6A Girls runner-up finisher

El Paso district cross country meets were scheduled to begin this week. This would mark the end of the season for some and the qualification into the next round for others.

However, this morning, it looked like the season would end even earlier than expected and another season was getting shut down due to COVID-19 for El Paso athletes.

Recently, El Paso County COVID-19 case surges have spiked rejuvenating fears and precautions in the area. Earlier this week, CBS News reported that hospitals in the city were overwhelmed and a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew was being imposed to help control the spread.

The El Paso County Judge has recommended all El Paso County schools to shut down athletics; that includes district qualifying meets. 

Some superintendents closely followed the recommendation and decided to shut down, while at the same time others utilized their own discernment wanting to continue move forward with the season carefully. 

If districts were to shut down athletics, that would mean several of the best cross country athletes and teams in the state would not be able to move forward and challenge for state championships. Boys teams from Tornillo, San Elizario, El Paso Americas, and El Paso Eastwood all have good chances to do well at the Region 1 championships and the UIL state meet. The same goes for the girls teams at El Paso Franklin, El Paso Riverside, El Paso Montwood, and El Paso Eastwood.

There are three main districts in El Paso (Socorro, Ysleta, and El Paso). All districts were not in favor of shutting down and were entertaining options. A source said, "The County Board wanted to shut down athletics, but some superintendents said no."

An alternative to shutting down district meets and avoid gatherings, a "paper district" was being considered. That would have them look at the top teams and individuals based on times during the season and crowning the top two teams and 10 individuals.

This afternoon, some of the districts who had previously decided to suspend athletic will be competing in district races after all.

The remaining El Paso district races will resumeon Saturday October, 31st with all teams running head to head as originally planned.