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November 24, 2013

Weather forced move of start line at NCAA

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State coach John McNichols made the decision early Saturday morning to move the starting line up about 100 meters. The reason was to ensure every team in the NCAA Cross Country Championships would have a fair start. Sticking one team directly in front of a large puddle of standing water and another in front of a relatively dry area would not have provided fair conditions.

Each team only had a about a one-meter area compared to the usual 2.5 meters.

“Our starting area is one of the widest in the country. But we had to move out far enough to get everybody on dry ground,” McNichols said.

Saturday’s NCAA Championships were the 10th time Indiana State has served as host in the past 12 years.

“It was a record day. It’s the coldest meet we’ve hosted and the muddiest,” McNichols said. “We have a great crew working their tails off to ensure the course is in good shape. But the timing of the rain storms late in the week just made it impossible to get it ready. A lot of mud.”

It’s something they can work on in the offseason, assuming the NCAA awards Terre Haute a host site once again.

“We just have to work on drainage at the start area. We certainly know where all the water sits but that’s the most we’ve seen.”

In early December, the NCAA will announce the site of the championship for the next four years.

“We want a major race every year,” McNichols added.

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