The state’s high school cross country runners and field hockey players will have to wait a bit longer to settle regional championships.
Today’s impending rainstorm has caused the Maine Principals’ Association to postpone Eastern and Western Maine championships in field hockey and cross country.
The field hockey regionals will be held Monday at Hampden Academy, with Dexter facing Foxcroft Academy in the Class C game at 3:30 p.m., Gardiner taking on Nokomis of Newport in the Class B contest at 5:30 and Skowhegan meeting Messalonskee of Oakland at 7:30 in the Class A matchup.
The Western Maine games, to be played at Scarborough High, will follow the same rotation and times.
Meanwhile, regional cross country titles will be decided Oct. 31, with the Eastern Maine teams running at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast and the Western Maine squads at Twin Brook Recreation Center in Cumberland, both starting at 11 a.m.
The state meet, originally slated for Oct. 31 in Cumberland, will now take place Nov. 7.
Even though championship meets have been run in inclement weather in the past — such as the state meet at Leavitt in Turner Center in 2007 — the imminent rain wasn’t the only factor in the MPA’s decision.
“You’ve got the heavy rain but the temperatures in the morning are supposed to be in the 30’s [degrees] with the wind chills in the 30’s,” said MPA assistant executive director Jeff Sturgis, head of the cross country committee.
Another factor, Sturgis said, was the fact that there was a two-week gap between the original state-meet date (Oct. 31) and the New England championships (Nov. 14).
“It makes the decision a little easier to make if that [extra] Saturday is in there,” he said.
Sturgis and regional meet directors Dave Jeffrey (East) and Marty Thornton (West) looked at all possible angles this week, and when the decision was made to postpone the meets, the committee considered the facts that teams in Aroostook and Washington counties may have chosen to travel Friday.
“Most of them would probably leave by noon [Friday],” Sturgis said. “You can’t call it the morning of the race because so many schools travel down overnight.”
Even though the state meet now conflicts with SATs — the state soccer championships are that day as well — runner safety was the committee’s primary concern.
That is particularly true with a course like Belfast, which features a couple of sharp corners on which a few runners slipped and fell in the muck in the Festival of Champions meet earlier this fall.
“We have to consider what’s more important at the time and the safety of the kids is probably our most prominent concern,” Sturgis said.
The MPA also announced Friday that the state Class B volleyball championship, slated for Oct. 31, will be played at Narraguagus High School in Harrington.
Fourth-seeded Jonesport-Beals and No. 1 Washington Academy will vie in one semifinal in East Machias at 6 p.m. tonight while No. 3 Woodland played No. 2 Calais on Friday.