The novel coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic changed the face of the sports calendar for much of 2020, but at least one thing remains the same.
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Cross Country Championships will take place on the campus of Northwestern State University. The two-day meet, set for Monday and Tuesday, has been a staple on the NSU campus for more than a quarter century and will continue its run along the west side of the NSU athletic footprint.
The two-day event begins at 10 a.m. Monday with the first of eight races that day. The Class C boys race starts the meet with the seven successive races beginning in 45-minute intervals starting at 10:45 a.m.
Tuesday’s six-race schedule begins with the Class 3A girls race at 11 a.m. The final day also follows the rolling schedule as Monday with each race beginning 45 minutes after its predecessor.
Admission to the championships is $10 per person per day and covers every race in a given day. Spectators will have to wear a mask in order to be admitted to the races and are being asked to keep them on once entering the Walter P. Ledet Track Complex. Fans also are asked to observe social distancing measures.
“It’s a privilege for the City of Natchitoches and NSU to continue hosting the state cross country meet and we enjoy doing so,” said Northwestern State Director of Athletics Greg Burke, whose 25-year tenure has brought him in contact with a number of LHSAA events. “Every effort is made by our staff to accommodate our visitors – competitors, coaches, families and fans – and make their experience to our historic and beautiful community memorable.”
The meet has been a longstanding November staple in Natchitoches, bringing in an estimated 3,000 competitors to the track complex and another 7-10,000 visitors to the area’s shops, hotels and restaurants.
The meet produces a multi-million dollar influx of economic impact across its two days of competition as well as Sunday’s practice day, which allows athletes to check out the course and gives their families another chance to experience Natchitoches’ charm and charisma.
Major local sponsors of the event are the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission and Natchitoches Regional Medical Center with assistance provided by the city of Natchitoches. The Allstate Sugar Bowl is the presenting sponsor of the state championships from the LHSAA level.
File photo of a past LHSAA Cross Country Championship. Credit: Alexandria Town Talk