Coaches at St. James Academy are getting a bit creative in the hopes of giving Kansas cross country teams the chance to take a fun break in the middle of the cross country season.
The school has announced that it will host the inaugural St. James Academy XC Relay Carnival, tentatively planned for Oct. 4, 2018 at the Lake Lenexa cross country course.
Among the highlights:
* Runners will not be scored as individuals, but instead as relays;
* Each leg of the relays will be one mile long;
* Athletes can run up to three relay legs, or three miles, per meet;
* There are separate relays for boys and girls, and co-ed relays;
* Relays are not separated by traditional varsity, junior varsity and 'C' division, but instead will consist of a mixture of runners of all abilities;
* And - maybe best of all - awards will consist of cookies and pies and other baked goods!
The meet is intended to give a break to Kansas cross country runners leading into the tough three-week stretch of league, regional and state meets. Coaches around the state treat the week before league meets differently - some completely rest their varsity teams, some run intrasquad meets, and some run smaller, less competitive meets.
The relay format gives coaches a new option: let athletes do a workout in a semi-competitive environment that is not likely to tax them too much mentally or physically.
Information from the school indicates that "we are looking to throw a cross country party that also just happens to provide some great, intense competition at whatever level coaches deem appropriate for their teams during this week."
The races that will be offered include:
* Co-ed 4 X Mile relay, consisting of two males and two females in alternating legs;
* Boys 4 X Mile relay;
* Girls 4 X Mile relay;
* Co-ed two-person 4 X Mile Relay, consisting of one male and one female in alternating legs;
* Co-ed two-person 2 X Mile Relay, consisting of one male and one female in alternating legs.
There is no limit to the number of relays each participating school can enter in the meet.
The meet will also feature a 'Put Yer Money Where Yer Mouth Is' 4 X Mile Relay, open only to members of the team's current cross country staff and parents of current cross country team members. Each relay must consist of at least one coach and one parent.
St. James Academy has announced the new concept in hopes that interested teams will consider attending the meet before signing contracts to other meets on the same weekend. Initially, St. James Academy is planning to host 12 teams and 500 runners, but could adjust those limits depending on interest from schools.