COLUMBUS — With the health and safety of everyone involved as the top concern and due to the large size of the event, the Ohio High School Athletic Association Early Season Cross Country Invitational, scheduled for August 15 at Fortress Obetz and Memorial Park in Southeast Columbus, has been cancelled.
The OHSAA’s decision was made Wednesday.
Cross country events can still proceed around the state beginning August 24, as the sport of cross country has been designated as a low-contact sport by the governor’s office and the Ohio Department of Health.
The OHSAA currently recommends smaller cross country events be held.
Already, the Tiffin Carnival, which was scheduled Sept. 12, has been cancelled. Galion has been a participant in that race for years. It is one of the largest meets in Ohio.
Galion’s annual cross country invitational is still on the schedule. It is scheduled Sept. 19. Each year it brings thousands of runners and fans to Amann Reservoir Park each year.
Considering the ban in Ohio on large gathering and rules governing social distancing, as well as other concerns, it’s fate is certainly up in the air.
Bob Goldring, interim executive director of the OHSAA, talked about the decision to cancel the OHSAA race in Obetz.
“We are very disappointed that the event is cancelled and understand that there will be frustrations from our student-athletes, but we have to put safety first,” he said. “We are meticulously moving forward with reopening our seasons for competition and appreciate the guidance of the governor’s office and the Ohio Department of Health. We also appreciate the cooperation of Fortress Obetz and we look forward to conducting our state championships there November.”
Sparked by additional interest from many schools since the course is the new home of the OHSAA cross country state championships, the OHSAA began putting schools on the wait list in mid-July and adjusted the schedule, race formats and the number of runners in each race in the hopes of providing the opportunity to participate to more schools. A decision had not yet been made regarding spectators.