When COVID-19 hit Mendocino County in early March, all extra curricular activities and sports were canceled at Ukiah High. At the beginning of September, cross country coach Chad Raugewitz found a way to start the practices again. The running program was offered through the City of Ukiah and lasted for several weeks. Recently on October 19th, our cross county team was able to start training again here on campus.
Because of the COVID-19 protocols, Coach Raugewitz has split the team in half, making two different training sessions, one for boys and another for the girls. The boy’s practices are three days a week, and the girls are two days a week. Coach Raugewitz noted that the practices are excellent for Ukiah High athletes. He says that the participants seem to be liking these practices.¨Since we are in a pandemic, there are certain precautions that the teams are taking,” he says. ¨They are wearing masks during their stretching and staying far apart while running.¨ Coach Raugewitz thinks these practices are going well but hopes that they can return to regular practices soon.
12th grader Ella Rozelski, a veteran of the cross country team, stated that she is happy to train and maintain physical conditioning; however, she misses practicing as one team. She expressed concern the pandemic has limited the recruitment of new runners.
12th Grader Jacob Mello has been on the cross country team for four years. He is happy that they are practicing and able to run still. Due to the COVID-19 protocols, the athletes are running in smaller groups. Mello does not like this. He says that it was nice to have the boys and girls practice together because of their close relationship. Mello says that they are practicing safety protocols during their practices. He explained that athletes wear masks at all times until they start running, and they also have to social distance the whole time.
Alex Marin, a Sophomore at Ukiah High and a member of the cross country team, expressed disappointment that COVID-19 protocols required team members to stay far away. “The fact that during practice they aren’t allowed to go near each other and like mess around is very sad in my opinion,” he says. He also misses playing ultimate frisbee during practice, which they cannot do now because of the virus.
Ukiah Highs cross country team will continue to practice in this way until it is safe enough to combine the two teams again.