As much as there is something to get excited for when it comes to high school sports and the fact that seasons are, at this point, moving forward later this year, the cross-country season was dealt a major blow recently when the Nike Cross Nationals canceled their 2020 event. NXN is one of two national championship events for U.S. based high school runners, which was canceled due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic concerns.

“This was not a decision taken lightly, but the health and safety of our athletes, families, fans and employees is our top priority,” organizers said.

Along with the cancellation of the national championship, the eight regional qualifying meets have also been called off. The Nike Cross Nationals has been held every year since 2004 in Portland, Oregon. Since 2014, the race has taken place at Glendoveer Golf Course.

“I’m devastated for our seniors who have worked for so long to have their turn at NXN,” Doug Soles, Great Oak head coach, said.

Recently, organizers of the Nike Cross Nationals, where Temecula’s Great Oak High School has had much success, cancel their 2020 event due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic concerns. Valley News/File photo

Great Oak has had plenty of great showings as a program at NXN and won a national championship in Portland with their boys’ team in 2015, but no NXN in 2020 means that a team national champion will not be crowned this year.

“It’s always a big goal for our team, and we had a special group this year shooting for it,” Soles said. “I’m glad that CIF has put together a great schedule for the kids. It gives us a chance to refocus on a State title for both cross-country and track, and it will get the high schooler athletes back to some normalcy soon.”

While any cancellation is hardly a surprise given the state of the country, the removal of an end-of-season championship does not bode well for the meets scheduled before it. For now, the 2020 Foot Locker Cross-Country Championships, held each year a week after NXN, is still on the calendar.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at sports@reedermedia.com.