KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The Schoenber Middle School boys’ and girls’ cross country teams hit the finish lines of their running seasons on Saturday. It was the third of their three races this year, but complete with all the pomp and circumstance that comes with the finale of a season amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

There were T-shirts and medals awarded, and fans in the stands at Esther Shea Field — along with social distancing and appropriate face masks being worn. Even crystal clear blue skies and the sun helped shine a spotlight on each of the 37 middle school runners that participated.

“Middle school sports are going to be intramurals all season,” Kelly Smith, Schoenbar Dean of Students and Activities, said after Saturday’s race. “Most middle schools have kind of shut down for activities this year. So it’s good to find things for them to do.”

Earlier this fall — at the start of the season — 65 runners signed up to join the team, and they were divvied up into four squads. The Schoenbar teachers coaching them kept a tally of team points on a bulletin board inside the middle school, and the intrasquad competitions began.

“It’s been a lot of fun.,” Smith said. “We had our coaches pick teams; we’ve made tie-dyed shirts. ... We’re just trying to spark interest.”

The previous two cross country meets were during the school day, as the teams raced near Schoenbar during lunch and homeroom hours. But Saturday’s 1.6-mile course started and finished at Esther Shea Field, with a loop through the subdivision near Fawn Mountain Elementary School.

Schoenbar saved the biggest stage for the final race of the year.

“It was a fast race,” Smith said. “The kids did a great job. We had a lot of fun.”

*Results for Schoenbar Middle School’s cross country meet

will be published in a forthcoming issue.