Veteran runners stay in condition

Gavin Sweeney runs a race at the Watauga High cross-country course in 2019.

BOONE — The NCHSAA extended the “dead period” from June 1 to June 15.

On the surface, it doesn’t seem that Watauga cross-country coach Randy McDonough will have to make a lot of adjustments with his team. The veteran runners know what’s expected of them and the basic form of training is simple: run.

But McDonough doesn’t get to coach his runners during an off period. He alsohas a new group of freshmen he would like to meet with before the summer months begin.

“Where it’s really going to hurt is the new kids coming in, usually around this time we’re starting up practices, and a lot of freshmen start coming in and meeting people and have people to run with,” McDonough said. “That’s not going to happen. I do put stuff on our website for them to start following on their own.”

Watauga Athletic Director Dustin Kerley did not feel pushing the dead period back 15 days would do a lot of harm to the school’s athletic department.

“That’s about the time ... we would be getting out (of school) anyway,” Kerley said. “It started with summer workouts. We’re going to rely on the guidance from the state school system and the athletic association how the best way to proceed with summer workouts on June 15.”

McDonough said he was happy how the veteran cross-country runners have maintained their voluntary workouts.

“I see them on the greenway running, so they’re keeping up with everything,” McDonough said.

McDonough also said that should the dead period be extended again, McDonough would have to get the word out about future practices online.

“I do feel it will get pushed past June 15,” McDonough said. “It’s something I’ve never been through and something I never want to go through again.”

Kerley feels extending the dead period is a sign that the state is still trying to have the fall slate of games stay on schedule.

“I think the best part about it is that it’s provided some hope so we can get back to some things soon,” he said. “It’s definitely flexible. Right now the timetable for them is to just iron some things out and it can always change. At least it’s provided the ability to prepare on our end as far as it might look like when we return.”

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