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The Siloam Springs Panther Cross Country Classic will have a different feel to it in 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic.

The four races -- varsity boys and girls and junior high boys and girls -- are maxed out at a total of 500 runners and no fans will be permitted for the event, which takes place Saturday morning at the Simmons Course.

Siloam Springs coach Sharon Jones said she was reluctant to reduce the amount of teams registered and the number of runners per team, but it was the only way to meet requirements from the school district administration.

"I fought it first, but when it came to the choice of either reduce your numbers or don't have a meet, well that's a no-brainer," she said. "We're going to reduce our numbers and not have spectators. Given the choice we want the kids to run."

Jones said despite the smaller numbers, there should be a good variety of teams participating.

"We're going to have small races, but we've got enough variety in our registration that it's still going to be a competitive race," she said. "There will just be fewer teams here, so it'll be good."

There will be a large school division, a 4A-5A division and small schools, she said.

Runners and coaches will be screened prior to the race, she said.

Starting boxes will be assigned to each team and they'll be spaced out 12 feet apart.

Each of the races will be run in two waves.

The high school boys race is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., followed by the high school girls around 9:30 a.m., the junior high boys at 10:10 a.m. and the junior high girls at 10:40 a.m.

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