Boys Varsity Cross Country, Girls Varsity Cross Country · Cross Country Update 2020-21 (As of 7/9/2020)


Hello Lake Nona High XC Family.

I hope this Email finds everyone safe and healthy and doing well this summer.  I wanted to reach out to everyone and provide you with information about this summer and upcoming fall XC season (2020-2021) at Lake Nona High School.

We are still scheduled to start our first practice of the year on Monday, July 27th.

I know there are many of you that are very concerned with the health, welfare and overall safety of your families and your children, as am I.  I will be making several suggestions to you to accommodate our athletes as we transition back to athletic competition.  We (the LNHS Administration, Coaches of OCPS & the FHSAA) have been given instructions and suggestions on ways to make every attempt to keep our LNHS athletes as safe as possible.  BUT, it is up to all of us & you (Moms, Dads, brothers and sisters, as well as, everyone that we come in contact with) to follow the required guidelines, provided by OCPS & the FHSAA, that we all have been given, in order to keep everyone safe as possible.

Now, there are a few changes that I have to inform you all of for this season.  Coach Melissa Houghton is no longer with us.  She moved back to New York to be closer to her family.  We want to thank her for her dedication and passion for coaching our Runners and also wish her the BEST in her future endeavors.  We are currently interviewing for a new assistant coach and will be announcing our new coach soon.  I will keep you informed.

Next, there are several changes to the “Athletic Physical” process that your Runner needs in order to be eligible for this season.  You can go to the athletic website ( lakenonaathletics.org ) to review this information, or https://lakenonaathletics.org/2020/05/22/athletic-student-clearance-2020-2021/

Every runner is required to have an Athletic Physical completed and on file with Lake Nona High School and with our ATC – Ms. Kiley O’Neil, before you will be allowed to compete in practices or competitions for Lake Nona High School.

***The Athletic Physical and Clearance Forms are all online and digital this year.

You will need to print off the EL2 Form to take to your Doctor/Physician and have them complete the form and then you will upload the completed forms on the website link.   Also, this year you will need to complete the waiver part of the EL2 Form for OCPS.  I will be happy to help anyone that needs assistance in this process.

***EVERY athlete is required to watch 3 short videos by the FHSAA & the NFHS in order to be eligible for competition this season.  These 3 videos are titled…Heat Illness, Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Concussions in Sports.  These 3 videos can be found on the NFHS website ( NFHSLearn.org ).  These 3 videos are to educate our athletes on the importance of these 3 very specific aspects of competition in athletics.  Please take this process serious and learn as much as you can about how to take care of yourself in competition and every day in practice.

**Once you are on the website…either create your new account, or sign in.  Then, you can search for the name of each of the 3 courses/videos.  Have your Runner/athlete watch each of the 3 videos and take the quizzes that go akong with the 3 videos (they must pass the quizzes in order to receive their certificates).  Once you have finished each video…SAVE & PRINT your course’s Certificate.  You are required to Email me, (Coach Bruce), the Certificates for ALL 3 courses/videos BEFORE you start practice on July 27th.

XC PRACTICES AT LAKE NONA HIGH SCHOOL (Daily) – Beginning July 27th

*I am going to explain the process of what the procedure for practice will look like each day starting on Monday, July 27th:

First, we have been given instructions to begin the season by practicing in a “Pod” atmosphere.  Each “Pod” will consist of a total of 9 athletes and 1 coach per “Pod”.  We will Only be able to start our practices at 7 A.M. each morning.  That means that we will be practicing in small groups at first.  Not everyone at the same time.  Your child(ren) may practice at a later time in the morning, or practice may be scheduled for in the evening for your child(ren).  Please be flexible with when your Runner is scheduled to practice each day.  I will try my best each week to be consistent with what time your Runner is scheduled to practice.  BUT, please also remember that I am evaluating which Runners will go into which “POD”.  Runners will be at different levels of conditioning and abilities, so I will be making the schedule accordingly in order to be most highly effective in our practices while beginning the season.  Once we are back in school, we will hold tryouts for all runners to determine who is on the Varsity team and who will be on the Junior Varsity team.  I will keep everyone informed, specifically informed, as to what time your practice is scheduled.

***This is why it is VITALLY IMPORTANT for ALL Runners to be on time for practice every day.  If you are late…you may miss the opportunity to practice with the Team for that day.  If you Miss more than 2 scheduled practices, this will be grounds for dismissal from the Team.  Once again, it is vitally important to arrive to practice at your scheduled time, in order to have your temperature taken and report to your “POD” & your Coach every day.

When each runner(s) arrives at Lake Nona High School…I will be giving you a specific designated area to report to, when you arrive on campus in order to check their temperature.  What this means is you may be asked to arrive at the Admission Gate at the Stadium, or the Bike Rack by the 400 Building, or the South Entrance to the Weight Room area, etc.  Each Athlete is NOT to exit their vehicle until a representative of the LNHS Athletic Team / Athletic Training Team comes to your car and takes your child(ren)’s temperature.  If ANY runner/athlete has a temperature of 100.4 or higher they will NOT be allowed to exit their vehicle and be asked to return to their home Immediately.  This is Non-Negotiable!

If your athlete(s) temperature is satisfactory, then they will be allowed into their assigned “Pod”.  At this point, your child will be asked to report directly to their “Pod’s” Coach.  They will be given their instructions on their perspective workout for the day and they will begin practice.

Practices will be No Longer than 1 hour (60 Minutes).  Since we are making every effort to ensure each athlete’s safety…we ask that Parents are in the Parking Lot at LNHS to pick up their child at the conclusion of their day’s Practice session, or if the student is driving their own vehicle, that they get into their vehicle immediately and leave campus.  I know this sounds strict, but it is for everyone’s safety.

 Also, I am asking that ALL Parents talk to their child(ren) on the LNHS XC Team and explain to them the IMPORTANCE of following ALL of the Guidelines (I will be talking to all of the runners at practice and going over more specific Guidelines to follow as well).  It is very important for the Runners to know that their “Usual/Normal” greetings with their teammates/friends is NOT something that we need to condone or encourage during our return to Practice (Handshakes, hugs, physical contact).  These are hard habits to break and the kids have not seen one another for several months and they will want to do these aforementioned things and they will do them without thinking about the consequences.  SO, I URGE each of you to talk to your Runner BEFORE practice begins and tell them to be conscious of what they touch, or get too close to, or just try to hang with before, during or after practice.

Additional information…we are asking that each Runner bring their own water bottle(s).  One suggestion was to bring a 1 Gallon sized container, due to the fact that most athletes will bring a 20 oz bottle and they will run out before practice ends.  Second, bring a towel, and/or a dry shirt to change into after practice.  Next, probably most importantly…begin running as soon as you possibly can.  Run in the mornings (EARLY) before the heat builds up in the middle of the day, OR, run in the evenings after the heat has subsided.  If you have NOT been running throughout the summer…begin at small increments, go for a relaxed run for 8-10 minutes and take a break and hydrate.  Don’t “chug or gulp” lots of water at one time, but drink in moderation (what fits for you) to stay hydrated.  Build up the duration of your runs over time.  After going for 8-10 minute runs early in the morning or late in the evening…increase the length of your run (in moderation, of course).  Continue to build you runs as you fell stronger.  Also, if you are running indoors on a treadmill, etc., you need to begin to acclimate yourself to running outdoors.  So, be sure to begin slowly and build yourself up over time…we will be beginning practices in about 2 ½ weeks.

I will be giving more information as we begin our team practices.

Parents are NOT allowed to stay and watch practice.  Parents are asked to not get out of their vehicles when they arrive on campus to drop off their child(ren).  If Parents want to stay and sit in their vehicles in the Parking Lot while their athlete(s) is practicing…this is ok & acceptable.  Please understand that this is a precautionary matter and an attempt to prevent excess contact with individuals.  If ANY Parent needs to speak to me, please feel free to call me or Email me.  This way we can still communicate freely with each other.  I am available to Facetime, Zoom, or just a regular phone call at most normal times of the day.

At this point, the beginning of the season, and the school year are a series of moving parts. This makes the decision on whether or not we have a “normal” start to our school year and our athletic season a very difficult one.  As we are sanctioned by the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), and just as important our own Orange County Public School System, we must abide by the Guidelines that we have been provided.  I will do my best to keep all of you as informed as I possibly can, and as we receive information about athletics for OCPS and Lake Nona High School.

In REVIEW of this Email:

  • Make sure each Runner has completed the Athletic Physical and Clearance Forms on the Lake Nona Athletics website – https://lakenonaathletics.org/2020/05/22/athletic-student-clearance-2020-2021/
  • Make sure to complete the 3 NFHS videos covering Heat Illness, Sudden Cardiac Arrest & Concussion in Sports and Email me the certificates before Monday, July 27th.
  • Make yourselves aware of the Guidelines and procedures of returning to practice for this fall.
  • I will have the Lake Nona XC Team Shop open soon.  I will Email all runners what they are required to purchase for this season.  Plus, this is a Team Shop for BOTH Runners and their families.  So if you want to purchase anything for any member of your family you can do it in one stop shop.  All items will be branded with the “Nona XC” logo.

If you have any questions, comments or just need to talk with me…please feel free to Email me.

Thank you for your time and patience.  I look forward to seeing you all again real soon and GO LIONS!!!

Brian Bruce

Assistant Athletic Director

US History Honors/US History Teacher/PLC Lead

Boys’ & Girls’ Cross Country & Girls’ Track Head Coach

Lake Nona High School