Waukon boys cross country team returns five letterwinners for 2020 season

2020 Waukon boys cross country team ... Left to right - Front row: Nathan O’Neill, Nate Keenan, Josh Keenan, Caleb Perkins, Wyatt Gulla, Connor Cahoon, Skyler Dugan, Cashton Lloyd, Kaedyn Anderson; Back row: James VanderVelden, Hunter O’Neill, Aidan Jones, Ryan Lubahn, Logan Delaney, John O’Neill, Ethan Lewey. Not pictured: Denzel Decker, Connor Stegen, Ethan Hooten, Tanner Marting.

2020 Waukon boys cross country returning letterwinners ... Left to right: Nathan O’Neill, Aidan Jones, Ryan Lubahn, Logan Delaney, John O’Neill.

The Waukon boys cross country team will return five letterwinners for its 2020 campaign, a fall season that will be like none other before it with the COVID-19 pandemic looming. Although the sport of cross country may lend itself to some built-in mitigation measures with its outside venue and the idea of distancing oneself from other runners, there are still some concerns with the larger gathering of runners at each meet, among other concerns that the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) has tried to address in its proposed mitigation guidelines.

“This year more than ever, it is going to be very important to stay healthy, with hopes of being able to run a full season of meets,” Waukon boys cross country coach Tara Stein said. “Things are a bit different at practice, and meets will have slight modifications, but if we follow the recommendations that have been put in place by the IHSAA/IGHSAU, hopefully we can get in a full cross country season this fall.”

The restrictions implemented in consideration of the ongoing pandemic made their impact before the season even began, limiting team activities that would normally have been part of season preparation. “We did not have any organized group runs this summer, but I provided my runners with suggested running workouts and overall miles to try to log in the off-season,” Coach Stein said.

A total of 19 high schoolers have taken to the course in early-season preparation for this 2020 season. Five of those young men will return with varsity letterwinning experience from last fall from a team that finished just one place shy of State Meet qualification as a team. Seniors Aidan Jones, Ryan Lubahn and John O’Neill, junior Logan Delaney and sophomore Nathan O’Neill will bring that veteran experience back to the course this fall.

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