By Joey McWilliams
BOKCHITO – At Rock Creek, running in the fall is usually reserved for fast-pitch softball, baseball and preseason workouts and training for basketball.
But this year, the running some high school athletes are doing is the sport itself.
Girls basketball coach Wade Johnson said recently some of Rock Creek girls approached him with the idea of having a cross country team and asked if he would be willing to help it get going. He did and the training began.
The girls’ team ran in its first event at Southeastern two weeks ago and finished seventh as a team with an individual high finisher at 12th.
Last week, the girls ran at the Durant Cross Country event in the J.V. division and had a second place team finish. Led by sophomore Teeroni McCann’s second place individual finish, the Mustangs also placed third, seventh, 11th and 18th.
Rock Creek has a boys’ team, as well, and the Durant meet was the first for that team.
Johnson said he thinks the cross country program may have found a home at Rock Creek.
“I think it will stick around,” Johnson said. “My young kids seem like they really like it and then I had some eighth-graders that spoke up and want to try it. I think it will be something we’ll be doing for awhile.”
Johnson said also the program isn’t interfering with his other sport, basketball, as the cross country team trains before school and after practices.
“Plus, it just makes my kids in better shape,” Johnson said. “It’s a win-win for me.”
There are seven girls on the cross country team and six of them also play basketball. The boys’ roster has eight runners.
Johnson said that in time the benefits of this addition to the athletic department could grow.
“I think my young kids, maybe by the time they’re seniors, will have a chance to get some scholarships out of this deal. And that makes it worthwhile.”