The Ken Smith Kiwanis Bi-County Invitational, the annual early-season benchmark for track and field teams from Montgomery and Fulton counties, won’t take place this year.
The meet, scheduled for April 11 at Gloversville High School, has been canceled. It’s one of many cancellations and postponements to hit the local high school sports community due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With schools closed at least through April 15 and Section II forbidding any competition through April 19 at the earliest, the Bi-County meet’s postponement was already guaranteed. Meet director and Section II girls’ track and field chairman Mark Therrien said Tuesday that, even if the season does get going in late April or May, there’s no good option for rescheduling the Bi-County meet.
“There’s really no place later on in the season to put it,” Therrien said. “If we do get the season up and running, there’s a bunch of other meets already set in place that would normally run, and everybody would be set for them.”
Section II executive director Ed Dopp said Tuesday that thus far, “no action” has been taken on the status of spring sports after April 19, but that section officials will meet next week to discuss the next course of action.
The Bi-County meet is an annual tradition for the track and field programs in Montgomery and Fulton counties, usually the first major competition for teams throughout the area.
It’s a chance, Therrien said, for kids to stretch their legs and for coaches to find out what they’ve got in store for the season.
“Unfortunately,” he said, “we aren’t going to get that this year.”
The Bi-County meet was also used as an early-season training ground for new track and field officials. Should the season get underway, that could create a logjam of new officials in need of training and veteran officials getting their regular assignments.
“Once we get into the season,” Therrien said, “we really have nowhere to train new officials.”
The meet rotates through different host sites in the two counties on a yearly basis. This is the second straight season where the meet was supposed to be held at Gloversville, only for extenuating circumstances to intervene.
Last year, the meet was moved from Gloversville to Johnstown’s Knox Field after construction delays at Gloversville’s new track facility. Gloversville was due to host again this year, with Therrien helping to organize the meet as Gloversville went through a coaching change.
“I got all the awards and everything, took care of everything,” Therrien said. “We were all ready to go, all the meet information was sent out and then all of a sudden this all kicked up and kind of put the brakes on everything pretty quickly.”
Plans are already in place for Gloversville to finally host the meet in 2021.
“The third time’s got to be the charm. We’re going to go again with Gloversville next year, and we’ve got a lot of stuff already in place,” Therrien said. “We’ve just got to update the dates of everything and hopefully get the thing off the ground next year. Hopefully, everything will get back to normal.”
At this point, even without an early-season touchstone like the Bi-County meet, Therrien and his fellow Section II track and field officials are hoping for some semblance of a season — even if it doesn’t include a state championship, a decision which will come from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association later this month.
“Hopefully, everything will get straightened out and maybe we can salvage a little bit of the season,” Therrien said. “I’m not sure yet. On certain days, it sounds like it’s a possibility. On other days, it sounds like there’s no way on Earth it’s going to happen. We just kind of bounce around from day to day and see which way this whole thing heads.”
Staff writer Jim Schiltz contributed to this report.
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