With the Whatcom Community College cross-country team’s season just
around the corner, a group of young athletes are preparing to compete
for the first time as an Orca runner. A collective of fourteen athletes
make up the team, six on the women’s and eight on the men’s. 

Since the unexpected outbreak of COVID-19, they had to adjust to the
uncertainty and possible disappointment of their season. Intended to
begin in Fall 2020, the cross-country season was postponed. Last
August, was supposed to be their first meet, but also was cancelled due
to safety and precautions. 

Coach Jay Sloane said that with the circumstances of this year, there
have been a lot of obstacles to face. 

“We originally started meeting in mid-August and we stopped meeting
in mid-November due to the COVID-19 guidelines.  I continued to email
weekly schedules to the team from mid-November and we began
meeting in person again on January 16th”.

He says the restrictions and guidelines made scheduling and training
more challenging, but with the help of assistant coach Brittany Grant,
they tried their best to keep the athletes motivated. 
“The team ran time trials of varying distances during the fall to keep the
training interesting” Sloane said. “I have made various types of
workouts for different locations to assist with the training and to
hopefully help with some of the extra stressors that everyone is dealing
with at this time.” 

Jesse Stoddard, a Freshman runner from Arlington on the men’s team
added how the virus has affected practice. 

“Practice has been hard with COVID-19. The team is able to
meet and have runs together, which is nice. We all wear masks, take
temperatures, and sanitize when we are gathering in a group.” 
Athletic Director Daniel Day said that the cross-country team will be
able to compete this 2021 season.    

“As cross-country is considered a “low-risk” sport according to
the Washington Government, the Northwest Athletic Conference is
moving forward with the cross country season from February 13-March
20” Day said.
He said we will get the opportunity to host a meet in Whatcom
county, but there will be no allowed spectators. 
“ As of right now, we are scheduled to host one meet on March 6,
but we are still working to see where in Whatcom County we may be
allowed to do so,” Day said. 

Although their upcoming competitive season is going to look and be
different, many are excited to be a part of and watch this cross-country

Sloane said that overall the team is looking good, and they have been
working really hard. He is excited to see them compete this season,
whether they are new to running or have had plenty of experience. 

“ I am really looking forward to watching the team have an opportunity
to race,“ Sloane said. “There are a couple student-athletes on the team
that are fairly new to running and there are several very seasoned

Makenna Holz, a Freshman of the women’s team, says she has been
involved in running most of her life and was excited to be a part of the
Orca team.   

“I have been running since I was in 5th grade, once I found out about
Whatcom introducing a cross-country team, I was interested in the
opportunity to run because I love the community and how everyone who
is involved is a joy to be around.”

Day went on about how excited he was to see the brand-new Whatcom
CC cross country teams compete. He said the coaches have done a great
job putting the men and women’s team together in such a short time
span, and that the teams seem ready to go. 

“The student-athletes have been working hard in training and are doing
everything they can to remain safe and healthy, all while preparing their
bodies for potential NWAC competition,” Day said “It will be great to
see them out there on the course, doing what they love and enjoying
their time as a part of the Orca cross country squad.”

Everyone that is interested in supporting the Whatcom CC cross-country
team, there are social media resources that will keep you up to date with
meets and results. Just search up “Whatcom Orcas” or “WCC Athletics”
on Facebook and Instagram. These pages are a great resource for
students and the community to support their Orca teams. 

Visit the Orca Athletics page on the Whatcom website, or the cross-
country page on the NWAC website for the latest information.

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