By Steve Williams

Like for most sports, the coronavirus pandemic has presented a challenge for scheduling high school cross country meets this year.

“Right now COVID-19 guidelines have us limited to waves of 50 runners, but we are hoping conditions improve and allow us to run a full varsity race in the annual KIL meet,” said Don Madgett of the Metro Knoxville Cross Country Coaches Association recently.

“I support the cautious approach but hope things turn around.”

The first of three weeks of smaller meets was held last week.

“We plan to have four meets a week to provide smaller meets during the pandemic,” said Madgett. “We plan to run at Melton Hill Park, Johnson University, Knoxville Livestock Center and William Blount High School.”

The first “smaller meet” was held last Thursday at the Knoxville Livestock Center in Mascot, a new cross country course.

“The Metro Knoxville Association is doing a great job at offering a selection of meets with lower number of participants,” said Tracy Peevy, coach of the Knoxville Ambassadors Homeschool team.

“Instead of the usual three to four meets offered in September, they are offering 10 to 12 meets with fewer teams.”

The KIL meet is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10.

“We are waiting and seeing regarding the KIL,” said Madgett, as far as the number of runners that will be allowed to run at the same time.

“Fall break starts October 12. That Saturday is our traditional date. We definitely plan to run then.”

Riley Smith, Catholic senior, was the boys’ individual winner in the first “smaller meet,” running a 17:45 in the 5K distance at the Stockyard course. Webb (30) edged Catholic (38) in boys’ team scoring.

Freshman Anna Graves of Webb was the girls’ winner, posting a time of 21:09 as she led the Lady Spartans to the team victory.

Races are scheduled this week at Johnson University and Melton Hill Park on Thursday and at the Stockyard and Johnson University on Saturday.


Eagles soar above Hawks 54-38 in MAC play

Gibbs and Hardin Valley had a shootout in their MAC football contest Thursday night.

The host Eagles came out on top 54-38 over the Hawks in the Varsity Division of the Middle School Age conference. The win lifted Gibbs to 3-1, while HVA dropped to 0-3.

In other Week 4 games, Farragut sailed past Carter 46-6, West turned back Karns 32-12 and Alcoa crushed Halls 52-6.

In JV action, unbeaten Farragut defeated Carter 24-12, West toppled Karns 16-6, Alcoa beat Halls 25-14 and Gibbs and Hardin Valley battled to a 6-6 tie.

Bearden, which is undefeated in both divisions, had an open date.

Week 5 games Thursday will match up West at Farragut, Bearden at Karns, Carter at Halls and Alcoa at Hardin Valley.

JV games start at 6:30 and varsity play at 8 on the high school fields.


Youth football kicks off in Knoxville

The Knoxville Metro Youth Football League started Saturday with 14 flag football teams, ages 6U, seeing their first game action at John Tarleton Park.

The KMYFL’s tackle teams, with age divisions for 7U through 14U, kick off this week, starting tonight at Tarleton Park.

The KMYFL usually begins in August, but was delayed by about a month this year due to the pandemic.

“I believe we have 63 total teams this year across all divisions,” said Nathan Nease, Athletics Coordinator for the Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department. “We normally run between 110 to 120 teams.

“I think it (fewer teams) is mainly COVID-19 related. The only program we lost to the MAC (Middle School Age Conference) was West.

“We had some programs that aren’t playing this fall and a couple of others joined other conferences that are closer to where they are located.”