TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The cross country season has once again arrived in Leon County, a season that could have looked a lot different had the Leon County Commission not voted down a mandate that required athletes to test negative for COVID-19 before they hit the trails.
Cross Country will be highlighted at Apalachee Regional Park as the FSU Invitational takes center stage this weekend.
Close to 500 college athletes will run Friday morning followed by around 400 high school athletes Saturday.
"It's just exciting that we're getting these athletes a chance to participate," said Scott Hansen, the Director of Secondary Schools and Student Activities.
Over 500 high school runners had pulled out of the event because of a mandate from the Leon County Commission that would have forced every athlete to get a COVID-19 test, something many wouldn't have been able to afford.
"We had students lining up to go get tested and get ready for this," Hansen said. "It just made everything a lot easier on everybody."
The mandate was voted down Tuesday night at the County Commission meeting. Athletes will now just have their temperature checked, they'll have a health screening and then they'll be cleared to run.
"They are the biggest meets and we have one of the best facilities in the state and country to run on so it's great the county decided to let us have that and use it," said Hansen. "It'll be a great opportunity for all of our students."
With the Commission striking down the mandate the Florida High School Athletic Association confirmed they will hold the State Cross Country meet in Tallahassee, something they had threatened to pull if that mandate stood.