High school runners facing toughest hand with VHSL’s condensed season plan

Schools like Blacksburg High will have to condense nine months of competition into six

Blacksburg, Va. – In July, the VHSL announced that all sports would be postponed to the beginning of 2021, leaving distance runners like Blacksburg’s Landon Dinkle with more time to prepare.

“I was a little disappointed but in the end it gives us an extra five or six months of training so we can get stronger when we can race again,” Dinkle said.

But the catch for this schedule is runners like Landon and teammate Mia Jones are condensing nine months of competition between cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, into one semester.

“(We) will probably maybe focus a lot on cross country so during indoor we might still be working on our goals for cross country,” Jones said. “Doing a lot of higher mileage to get in our training and hopefully when it comes to race time we will be prepared.”

Head coach Brandon Bear has been working on an approach that won’t let unforeseen circumstances get in the way of his runners.

“I’ve been trying to focus a lot since April on that mental mindset of this is an opportunity to really work hard that a lot of other teams might not be doing,” Bear said. “Just trying to keep ourselves ready for whatever the day is, whenever that is.”

But this waiting period leaves more questions than answers.

“Do we treat (the seasons) as we typically do and focus on all three? Or do we maybe back off on one in lieu of another one? If we view it was an opportunity, I think we can do some amazing things. We will just have to see,” Bear said.

About the Author:

Brooke Leonard is the newest addition to the 10 Sports team, joining in June 2019.