To the editor of THE EAGLE:

I recently returned from attending my eighth cross-country state championship meet. It rotates location each year between the Eastern, Central and Western parts of the state and is always held at the same place in each one of those regions every third year. To qualify for the state meet each part of the state has a regional championship and these are also held at the same place each year.

Having been to all three locations at least twice, I have to say I am surprised that the Western Mass. meet (for both the regional and state championship) has remained at Northfield Mountain. It is a brutal race with the first mile (roughly) being straight up the side of the mountain.

I have asked why it is held there and been told it is "tradition." While I am all for traditions that are beneficial to maintaining the spirit of a sport, I am baffled as to why a tradition would be kept that puts the athletes from the entire western part of the state at such a disadvantage each and every year. One week is not enough time to adequately recover from such a race while still in training for the state meet the following week.

Since the MIAA only responds to principals and athletic directors, perhaps it is time for these individuals to consider changing the Western Mass. meet to a different location -- even just once -- to see if this is a tradition best left behind.

TAMARA HITCHCOCK

Lanesborough


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