In this Oct. 3 photo, Erin McCarthy of Bangor heads the lead pack of runners in front of Olivia Mosca of Brewer (19), Julia white of Orono (64), George Stevens Academy's Thea Crowley (33) and Megan Randall of Bangor (7) during the Maine Cross Country Festival of Champions in Belfast. The Maine Principals' Association has moved the state championship meets to Saxl Park in Bangor. (Glendon Rand Photo)

Bangor is the new site for the 2020 high school cross country state championship meets.

The Maine Principals’ Association on Tuesday announced the change of venue, which was made necessary due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Waldo County stemming from the Brooks Pentecostal Church and its school, Lighthouse Christian Academy.

The MPA cited Waldo County’s designation as “yellow” by the Maine Department of Education and the uncertainty of athletics in that area as the key considerations in moving the cross country meets. Saxl Park was selected to keep the event at a North site as designated for this year’s championships.

“Knowing that time on a bus is important to schools and not wanting any schools to have to do an overnight trip it was important to keep the meet somewhere between Bangor and Augusta,” MPA assistant executive director Mike Bisson said.

“We considered our other outstanding state site [Twin Brook Recreation Area in Cumberland, but know that with Class C going first Aroostook County schools could have a five-hour ride to Cumberland and probably would have to stay overnight. That could eliminate some schools from attending.”

The boys title meets will be held Wednesday, Nov. 11, and the girls championships are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 14, both at Saxl Park on Mt. Hope Avenue adjacent to the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center.

Class C competitors will run at 9:30 a.m. both days, with the Class A runners scheduled for noon and the Class B meets slated for 2:30 p.m.

Spectators will not be allowed in order for the MPA to meet the state’s limit of 100 people for outdoor gatherings. Live streaming will be provided for all of the championship races.

“The [cross country committee is really concerned about the safety aspect of trying to run these races between travel issues and spacing at the site,” Bisson said. “Saxl Park allows us to stay as socially distanced as possible.”