Medical professionals, coaches discuss season crossover

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Patriot High School senior Ruben Robles, front right, leads a cross country race against Arlington High School at Ramona High School on Feb. 27. Robles placed fourth in the Rams Duals with a time of 16:35. (Erik Galicia | Viewpoints)
By Daniela Ramirez 

The cross country season for high schools in the Inland Empire is ending this month, with the track season set to begin quickly afterwards.

Many athletes competing in cross country will be receiving no rest period going into track. But will the quick jump benefit them or cause major inconsistencies in competition?

The Olympics take place every four years. However, due to the pandemic, the 2020 Olympics were pushed back one year, changing the athletes’ training cycle from four to five years.

The training period an athlete’s body is accustomed to can make it difficult to adjust in such a chaotic time. Could the same be said for high school athletes with a shorter training period? 

“There will be no serious injuries for the athletes crossing over from one sport to the next with no breaks because the season is much shorter,” said Jim Clover, a medical sports professional at the Riverside Medical Clinic.

A typical high school cross country season starts from August to November. Many top athletes go straight to an indoor track season with very little time to recover. 

Clover states “the only big thing that will hurt the athletes is not running during quarantine.” 

When COVID-19 hit last March, some athletes were not training as hard as they would with their team, or even trained at all.

For high school sports their training seasons have been off and on. 

William Winters, head cross country coach at Rancho Verde High School says his practices have been cancelled three separate times.

The race at Ramona High School on Feb. 27 was their first race of the pandemic.

 “This being our first race is very late for any runner.” Winters said.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, the more competitive races are cancelled, affecting the runners to improve on times compared to last season. 

“It won’t be their best season, Winters said. “We’re out here for the experience.” 

Winters also foresees no major injuries for the runners going into track because the season is too short for the athletes to stress their bodies past the limit.

Joseph Toyotome, head cross country coach at Patriot High School, said inconsistent training is a factor that might contribute to injuries.

With the on and off season every sport is dealing with, athletes are more prone to injuries. “Having a good recovery plan no matter what is very important,” Toyotome said.

Megan Lopez, Poly High School athletic trainer, has the same plan for all her athletes. “Poly has been doing a good job at conditioning their athletes before racing again,” Lopez said.

She does not see any major injuries happening for cross country runners, only athletes engaging in explosive exercises such as sprinting and jumping that can cause stress fractures.

Since medical professionals and coaches agree that athletes will be healthy crossing over into a new season, will the continuous training be beneficial?

Gabby Jimenez, coach at Arlington High School believes the combined time of both seasons will benefit the runners.

The athletes will be running a regular season of cross country by the end of track, Jimenez added.

She is optimistic

 “They will be in great shape by then.” Jimenez said.

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