The Warren County Middle School cross country team is off and running.
Coach Patty Kelly is wasting no time getting team members up to speed. Monday’s opening practice concentrated on stretching and form, but the pace is going to intensify quickly.
“We’ll be doing a one-mile trial run on Wednesday,” said Kelly, who hopes to schedule the team’s first meet around the start of school in early August.
Eleven students showed up for opening practice and got to test their legs by running one lap around the track. Kelly stressed the importance of maintaining solid form, shouting advice to the runners as they darted down the back stretch.
“You cover more ground with fewer steps if you have a big stride,” said Kelly.
She noted proper stretching is key to developing proper form. “Stretching will elongate your muscles so it’s easier to get that open stride,” she said.
Running with your head up also makes a big difference, Kelly said.
Cross country is a unique sport in that athletes compete on different types of terrain. On the cross country course at WCMS, runners travel on gravel and dirt before finishing the race on the Nunley Stadium track.