HUNTINGTON — Cross country runners will try to separate from one another, while volleyball players hope to avoid a spike.
Both high school sports are subject to new COVID-19 guidelines released by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission this week. Official practices begin Aug. 17.
Changes to cross country include a maximum of 35 participants — equivalent to five teams — at the starting line for any race. If a meet features more than 35 runners, a staggered start with five minutes between starts will be required. Also, no awards ceremonies may take place and individuals/teams must leave when the race concludes.
No group or team huddles prior to the meet are permitted without the use of social distancing. Handshakes and hand or back slaps are prohibited before and after contests. Each individual is advised to bring his or her own water bottle or choice of drink, as water coolers are not permitted. All participants must wear a face covering before and after a race, as well as at the meet if unable to socially distance.
Volleyball modifications limit the number of teams allowed to play in regular season tri- or quad- matches. A tri-match may be played if the host school has one court for usage. A maximum of four teams can play if two courts are used at the host school. These rules apply to all regular season tournament matches, both in and out of state.
Teams will not swap benches between games. No coin toss to determine serve will take place, as the visiting coach will have the option to serve or receive in the first game. The games will alternate first serve from there, unless a deciding game is needed. The home team will have choice of serve or receive in that situation.
Officials and each head coach, but no players, will be permitted to meet at center court for pre-match conferences. Rosters are to be submitted to the officials table. Each team’s scorekeeper and one timer are to be the only people at the official table. Libero trackers are permitted to sit at the end of each bench.
Handshakes, huddles and hand or back slaps are prohibited before, during and after contests. Electronic whistles are permitted and reducing the number of people traveling is encouraged. Each individual is to bring his or her own water bottle or choice of drink. Water coolers and stations are not permitted.
Teams are limited to one scrimmage against one other team before the season opens Sept. 2. Previews are not permitted.
All participants must wear face coverings if social distancing is not possible as per Gov. Jim Justice’s orders.