Athletes, coaches adjusting to new cross country format
TORII STATION, Okinawa – Due to a new format, Monday’s Far East cross country meet features two-thirds the athletes it did a year ago.
DODEA-Pacific this season mandated qualifying standards of 18 minutes, 30 seconds for boys and 22:15 for girls. The new format and times were adopted last May during a video conference of DODEA-Pacific athletic directors and Far East athletics coordinator Tom McKinney, a former Kadena cross country coach.
Thus, Monday’s field features just 82 runners, compared to 120 last year, McKinney said. The format was adopted to make the Far East meet more like its Europe counterpart, which never featured a team relay, and similar to stateside meets where runners must qualify.
“We want it to be more of a championship feeling for the athletes, not simply a ‘going on a trip’ feeling,” McKinney said. “We wanted to make it more realistic.
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