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The Virginia Showcase changes due to COVID-19

Track and field student-athletes from across the nation came to Virginia Beach to compete in the Virginia Showcase

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — While COVID-19 has forced the cancelation of many events across our area, a national track and field competition has started inside the new Virginia Beach Sports Center.

The Virginia Showcase is a national indoor track and field meet. This weekend more than 2,500 student-athletes from 40 states will be competing inside the Virginia Beach Sports Center.

This year, every athlete is jumping over a new hurdle wearing a mask. Virginia Showcase founder Nolan Jez changed the race formats to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.

"All the races are smaller. We're spreading them out, leaving empty lanes out there so they don’t have to wear a mask during competition. But every other second they are in this building, they have to have a mask on. They’re literally running with the mask in their hand or tucked in their waste band," said Jez. 

Due to COVID-19, the Virginia Showcase is only allowing in 25 fans per track and field event. In previous competitions, over 5,000 spectators would be watching their children. 

"But we’ve told people, like, this is the only other option. It’s, you don’t get to run or you have to follow this and we’ve followed every restriction," said Jez. 

Coaches and athletes sit on one side of the field as parents watch from the other.

“I feel safe and comfortable and everybody seems to be following the rules," said Yorktown parent Laurie Wagner, who came to watch her daughter in the pole vault competition.

Other parents hope the track and field event can one day go back to normal.

"That we're able to gather, be loud, be close to each other because these kids seem to perform better to have the enthusiasm and grab behind them," said parent Dan Sawyer. 

The Virginia Showcase competition will be streamed live and goes on until January 17.