This should have been one of the best weeks of the year. One of the greatest events on the running calendar -- the NCAA Cross Country Championships -- were supposed to be tomorrow in Stillwater, Okla. Instead, we're stuck in the middle of a pandemic, one that has claimed 250,000 American lives and shows no sign of abating.
This time of year is supposed to be about giving thanks. And generally, we've tried to be grateful for the events that are happening as opposed to those postponed or cancelled. There are still races to discuss, from the cross country action last weekend in Terre Haute and Lubbock to Keira D'Amato's attempt to break the women's-only American record at 10 miles on Monday in Washington, D.C.
But sometimes, it's okay to reflect on what we're missing. Sometimes, it's okay to be sad. It hurts not having NCAAs on the calendar this fall. Yes, the meet has been pushed back to March. But it won't be the same. There's no regionals this year to qualify from. Spectator numbers will be down. And the Arkansas women -- the reigning national champions and #1 team in the country in the USTFCCCA poll -- may not even compete because NCAA Indoors is scheduled two days prior.
So let's hope that we see pictures like the one above -- taken from the 2016 champs, with the three men pictured responsible for a combined five individual titles -- again soon. Now that would be something to be thankful for.
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The NCAA XC champs will be held on March 15, just two days after NCAA Indoors. Jonathan Gault spoke to several top NCAA coaches to figure out why the schedule turned out that way -- and how they're adjusting. Many coaches indicated they are likely to blow off one of the championships entirely.
The 36-year-old D'Amato, who took spent over eight years away from the sport and plays in a fantasy football league with Matthew Centrowitz, will be going for the AR in the D.C. area on Monday. But staging an AR attempt on public roads -- even in the middle of a pandemic -- can be expensive.
Jonathan Gault praises Elijah Manangoi for doing something that fellow stars Christian Coleman and Wilson Kipsang have been unable to do and something that is very rare in the year 2020 - owning up to a massive mistake.