I was there at the meet yesterday, and here is my two cents: the course was in pretty bad shape. The snow was thick and wet, so it would have been rough conditions for a race. However, it is cross country. My team and I were all ready to run in it, no matter what condition the course was in.
The problem was trees. The coaches were worried about one or two spots on the course where the race goes under a few trees, and these spots were just for a quarter mile or so. The word on the course was that the girl's course was fine(they didn't have to run the spots in question), but they didn't want to risk the guys race by making them run through the wooded areas. Why not switch up the course a bit to steer the men out of the wooded areas? It really would not have been that difficult.
As for canceling the meet, it was an executive decision that was made too late. We were aware of how the weather was going to be the whole week beforehand (our coach kept us updated), and we were prepared to run in the snow because we knew it was coming. Were the race officials/PSU coaches that oblivious that they didn't have a back up plan? Also, the majority of the snow that was on the course was there the night before, so why not make the decision to cancel then? I was just completely caught off guard by that.
Thank god for Coach Russell and the Lock Haven team for salvaging a race out of this disaster. I know that in my teams case (and in the case of a lot of the other teams that were supposed to run this meet), this was a plug meet between Paul Short and our respective conference meets which are in 2 weeks. Because of the cancellation, some teams will be going into their conference meet without having run a race in 4 weeks, and that is unfortunate.
The race at Lock Haven was run well.. kudos to them for throwing it together so quickly and allowing any team from PSU who wanted to run to run. The course was torn up and muddy, but isn't that how cross country is supposed to be?
The way the cancellation was handled was fine, I just think it's unacceptable that teams came in from 1000 miles away and they canceled the meet without a back up plan or any alternative for those teams to do.
Penn State has made themselves look bad on a national level now, and next time they plan a meet they better be sure to plan for all situations to avoid an embarrassment like this again.