XC practice

Cross country coach Chris Gannon gathers men’s runners at a practice earlier this fall where they complete routine workouts.

While the Big East postponed fall athletics to spring of 2021, some believed, prior to the decision, that certain sports may still compete in their typical season.

Cross country, an extremely low contact sport, was one of those.

“We were optimistic that we might get to compete and that that decision could be made sport by sport, it wasn’t,” men’s and women’s cross country coach Chris Gannon said. “I understand the reasoning why from an NCAA perspective, as well as from a conference perspective, to be safe.”

Without competitions, Gannon is giving his athletes something to look forward to within the squad.

Rather than the typical races, he’s set up six race-like events for both teams during the fall to keep motivations up for his athletes and give them something to look forward to outside of practices.

Even without the normal races, some athletes note they feel fortunate to have any experience this fall.

“A lot of other schools across the country can’t practice right now. We can, so we’re really grateful for that,” junior men’s cross country runner Aidan King said. “You can only control what you control. Obviously, when we first heard the announcement, all of us were bummed, but at the moment, we’re just grateful that we’re all able to follow the protocols the university put in place.”

Perhaps the most impacted by this announcement are senior athletes not experiencing their typical final season.

Despite that, senior women’s cross country runner Katie Fukushima is approaching the season with an optimistic view.

“My senior year has been affected, but I am trying to stay positive about it,” she said. “I am disappointed that we will not be able to compete this fall like usual. However, the health and safety of everyone is the top priority.”

While waiting to take the course this spring, Gannon hopes his runners remain motivated with practices and competition with teammates.

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