Members of the George Stevens Academy boys’ cross-country team compete in a Sept. 25 meet at Ellsworth High School. This year’s state championship meets, which had been scheduled for this week, have been canceled. FILE PHOTO

MPA cancels state cross-country championships

BANGOR — This week’s state championship cross-country meets have been canceled.

The Maine Principals’ Association made that announcement in a press release issued Monday morning. The decision came just days before teams and individual runners from across the state were set to compete in the season’s final meet at Saxl Park in Bangor.

In the release, MPA Assistant Executive Director Mike Bisson cited concerns over bringing together athletes from all over Maine to compete in the same competition. The state currently has more than 1,800 active COVID-19 cases, three times as many as it did a month ago.

Bisson also cited the new mandate that student athletes wear masks during competition. The turnaround time between the mandate and the meets, he said, was too soon for runners to acclimate to running with face coverings.

“Many cross-country runners have not been acclimatized to wearing the mask while competing in a high-stakes race since the mandate took place last Friday,” Bisson said. “This is a concern for the health and safety of the student athletes.”

Locally, runners from Bucksport, Mount Desert Island and George Stevens Academy had qualified to compete. The boys’ state championship meet had been scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 11, and the girls’ meet was slated for Saturday, Nov. 14.

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