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Polar Bear Meet: Brookville, Punxsutawney Take Indoor Track And Field Outside

From left to right, Punxsutawney's Olivia Bish, Jordann Hicks and Brookville's Anna Fiscus. Photo courtesy Sharon Doolittle.
BROOKVILLE, Pa. — An indoor meet, outside.


It’s still 2020, so why not? But that’s what happened at Brookville Area High School where the hosts and Punxsutawney had an indoor-style meet on the track Friday afternoon.

The weather — clearly many spring meets are conducted in far worse conditions — with sun and temperatures made for an ideal setting. And perfect timing considering the mandated shutdown of high school sports, indoors that is, that started just a handful of hours later.

So it was a group of 30-some combined athletes competing in events such as the 55-, 150- and 500-meter dashes, the 1,000, 1,600 and 3,000 runs, long and triple jumps, and shot put and weight throws. Those are familiar races in an indoor setting, but the indoor season, by COVID-19 mitigation mandates as in other sports this winter, is virtually non-existent.

But, outdoors is a different equation, presuming proper protocols were followed. So keep away the snow and ice and frigid temps and it’s game on. Friday turned out to be perfect.

Planning for this event started awhile ago between Brookville coach Dan Murdock and Punxsutawney’s John Snyder. They knew any traditional indoor season was on hold for near future.

“We’ve talked a lot over the last year and he said something about getting something going and I suggested doing an indoor meet outdoors,” Murdock said. “The PA Track and Field Coaches came out saying you could do this and there are bunch of places starting to do this around the state so we’re like let’s do it here. We both have small teams and John agreed.”

So with blessings from both school administrations and double-checking protocols, the meet was off and running, so to speak. Other meet maneuvers also kept COVID mitigations concerns in mind and the meet was completed in less than two hours.

“It was almost perfect,” Snyder said. “Considering all that’s going on, especially how the schools have been dealing with COVID and if the kids could get an opportunity to run, then it was worth the work. A lot of these kids were denied a spring season and both of our programs had district champions from two years ago who didn’t get a chance to compete in the spring.”

Both coaches are committed to working to make this happen again if the weather cooperates. Murdock thanked all of the volunteers who helped make the meet work.


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