By Justine Ha
The MVHS boys and girls cross country team had qualified to compete in the CCS championship meet, but due to circumstances regarding wildfires happening in Northern California, the likelihood of training outdoors regularly was not a possibility.
On Nov. 8, 2018, one of the deadliest wildfires in the state of California had begun. Known as ‘The Camp Fire’ and scorching over 13,000 acres of land, it has caused Northern California to be blanketed in smoke.
According to The Seattle Times, this smoke can potentially impact the health of many people, and lead to “coughing, sore throats, extreme wheezing among people with a respiratory disease and cardiovascular illness.” People living in these smoky environments are highly advised to stay indoors as much as possible, as being outside for too long can potentially impede one’s health.
As a result of these safety and health issues, the MVHS cross country team had to make a change of plans, as the CCS championship meet was rescheduled twice due to the wildfires. It was originally set for Nov. 10 before it was moved to Nov. 12 and then finally to Nov. 17.
Cross country coach Kirk Flatow made the choice to move training indoors. He chose to continue practice rather than canceling training altogether, as he believes tampering with the student athletes’ training schedule is hard to regain.
“Fitness –– you can gain over a period of four months or years but it can be lost in a much shorter period of time. The fact that we have kids who've been working very hard towards these goals, some of them for four years, you don't want to have one week of bad air quality ruin that." –– MVHS cross country coach Kirk Flatow
Moreover, finding a place for his athletes to train wasn’t a difficult task. He was able to contact the nearby Northwest YMCA and get memberships for the athletes. Flatow believes that the YMCA has always helped MVHS athletes with whatever they needed to succeed in regards to training for meets and competitions.
“Luckily, the YMCA community has been really supportive of trying to help our kids achieve what they've been working towards and supporting them,” Flatow said.