New Mexico's Move Is A Reality Check For Other States

New Mexico's reality should be a gut check for other states across the country. 

Following New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's recent announcement that interscholastic athletics in the state will not continue in 2020 because of heath concerns surrounding COVID-19, the New Mexico Activities Association has postponed all athletic competitions on Thursday until 2021. 

Three low-risk sports that were on the docket -- volleyball, golf and cross country -- were all moved to a very crowded 2021 calendar.

As recently as Wednesday, MileSplit New Mexico's Alan Versaw was breaking down what the season would conceivably look like from a competition standpoint.

Remember, as recently as September, the NMAA had issued a guidance on cross country, notifying member schools of an 11-point plan to go by when hosting meets. The Governor's office, however, denied that the NMAA ever had the approval to move forward, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Among the rules provided, the NMAA declared that meets could have no more than 100 people (athletes, coaches and spectactors); that masks were mandatory; that there would be no team camps; and that there would be no finish line chutes to prevent from gathering, among other guidelines. 

An abbreviated schedule was reportedly set to begin in October and conclude in December. 

Only a handful of athletes from New Mexico have gotten opportunities to race so far -- and they had to travel outside the state to make that happen.

All five of the state's performances (all boys) in 2020 were produced at the Desert Twilight Invitational this past weekend in Arizona. 

Many coaches inside the state, however, already believed their seasons were hanging by a thread. 

"We knew we were on the ropes," Albuquerque Academy cross country coach Adam Kedge told the Albuquerque Journal.

"Honestly, I knew this was coming. I wasn't surprised," Rio Rancho coach Sal Gonzales added for the paper.

"This is an extremely sad day for students across New Mexico," NMAA Executive Director Sally Marquez said. "We were planning and hoping to begin competition this month as our member schools are eager to safely integrate sports and activities back in to our students' lives.  At this point, however, we cannot stage any competitive events without an update to the current public health order.  Thus, the NMAA's Fall Sports Seasons have been postposed strictly based on the orders set forth by the Office of the Governor."

The NMAA says it will work on updating its spring calendar by next week.

While runners will continue to run and train in New Mexico, their seasons more complex because of the balancing act they'll need for the spring (XC could conflict with track and field), it doesn't make it any easier. 

If it wasn't obvious already for runners in all states: When not running and in public, wear a mask. 

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