With long-running Milaca meet called off, Grand Forks cross country coaches aiming to jump at opportunity – Grand Forks Herald
, 2022-07-21 11:47:00,
GRAND FORKS — Sean Allan and Richard Dafoe — Grand Forks high school cross country coaches — have talked for years about the possibility of a Border Battle race, where teams from surrounding states and even Canada could come to Grand Forks to compete against one another.
This summer, when the Milaca Mega Meet — one of the area’s biggest races of the season — called off its event due to a conflict with its golf course host, Allan and Dafoe jumped at the opportunity to fill the void.
“We looked at our schedule and wondered where we could go find a race,” said Dafoe, who coaches Grand Forks Red River. “That was kind of our ah-hah. Instead of trying to find one, let’s make our own. What (Milaca Mega Meet) has done is cool and good and people gravitated to it. We’re trying to create that similar experience — a festival of cross country.”
And at that, the first annual Border Battle in Grand Forks was born. The meet is scheduled for Sept. 24.
The Milaca Mega Meet, which Grand Forks had participated in for roughly the last 15 years, confirmed the meet was off on its Facebook page on July 18.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have to say that we will not be able to host the Milaca Mega Meet this year,” the post said. “There is a conflict with our usual site in Milaca and we will not be able to use the course. We have not been able to secure a different site. Due to the size of the meet, it is difficult to host it on a golf course so that has been an issue as we looked for alternatives.
“We are disappointed and frustrated but hope an alternative site can be found in the future.”
The Milaca Mega Meet, which celebrated its 50th race last year, has brought together 150 teams and 5,900 runners annually, the meet website claims.
Allan, who coaches at Grand Forks Central, said Grand Forks already has 20 teams signed up for the Border Battle event.
Increasingly over the last few years, golf courses have started to not allow cross country meets due to the damage to the course a meet can cause. North Dakota State recently had to call off a home meet due to a conflict at Rose Creek Golf Course.
“Fargo no longer has a site that can host a conference meet,” Dafoe said. “As big of a city as it is between high schools and college, you can’t host a cross country meet in Fargo anymore.”
Dafoe said the three most viable sites in North Dakota for hosting large meets — because they aren’t on a golf course —…
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