Much of the sports world is in limbo as coronavirus has created a storm of uncertainly, but it appears the Warren County Middle School cross country team will be off and running this year.
WCMS coach Patty Kelly and her team have been practicing the past two weeks to get in shape for the upcoming season. Wednesday morning was the time to run hills on all surfaces -- pavement, gravel and grass -- and runners responded by darting up some gradual and steep inclines.
“This is our home course so we should know the hills and have home-course advantage,” Kelly told her team.
She gave them advice on how to attack the start of the 2.1-mile course, which is uphill.
“This is where you have to dig in and put yourself where you want to be,” said Kelly.
About 15 runners have been showing up regularly for practice, which features a variety of running drills and some exercises for building core strength.
“We’ll probably add at least five to seven more once school starts because a lot of people don’t realize we’re out here,” said Kelly. “I tell them that I can show them what to do and how to train but it’s up to them to put in the work. It’s hard, but if you’re willing to work you will see results.”
Kelly said it takes about two weeks of regular running before there’s a noticeable difference in endurance. Despite several sports idling in neutral and not knowing the fate of their seasons, Kelly said cross country, golf and volleyball are three fall sports which have been given the green light to begin.
“I’ve been told I can start planning our annual 5K fundraiser, which is a big event which involves the entire community,” said Kelly. “I’m also planning the Pioneer Invitational, which is a big cross country race for high school and middle school teams.”
For middle school students interested in running cross country, practice continues next week. Practice will be held July 20, 23 and 24 from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the WCMS track at Nunley Stadium.