The Commerce Journal

September 19, 2011

Cross country program off to strong start

Caleb Slinkard
Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — Greenville Christian School is best known for its high school six-man football team, which has been one of the most successful in the state over the past decade.

But the Eagles have a new athletic team, one that caters to a much wider group of students.

“Back in the spring, I volunteered to coach a middle school cross country team,” said Dr. Sandy Kimbrough, an associate professor of health and human performance at Texas A&M University-Commerce. “My own daughter Kaylee was not interested in team sports but loves to run, so I wanted to  provide an opportunity for her and other kids who may want to run cross country.”

The team consists of sixth graders Kaylee Kimbrough, Libby McCullough, Haley Teurman, Kyle Weeks and Connor Weeks and eighth grader Evyn McGraw. The six runners competed for the first time on Sept. 1 at the Carrollton Greenbelt Championships.

“Evyn did amazingly well,” Kimbrough said. “She joined the team in July, a month after we had started training, and she placed 15th among middle school girls at the meet, earning GCS’s only medal.  I am so proud of her.  Among the sixth grade girls, Kaylee placed second.”

The team will compete again at the Ken Garland/Northwest High School Invitational in Denton on Saturday, and the Carrollton Christian Invitational on Oct. 1.

“We may add some more meets to our competition schedule and we will probably continue running as a group during the winter and spring,” Kimbrough said. “I will be taking runners who want to go to some traditional road races during the winter and spring. I hope the kids will continue to run distance events for the track and field season in the spring as well.”

Currently, the team practices three times a week and they began training collectively in June of this year. The competition distance is 3,200 meters or about two miles.

“These kids are hard workers,” Kimbrough said. “The parents have been great about getting the kids to practice, etc.  We designed our own uniforms, T-shirts and sweatshirts.”

The students are putting in a lot of effort according to Kimbrough.

“They are learning to pace themselves, to work hard, and even though cross country is an ‘individual’ sport, they are really working together as a team,” she said. “They encourage and support each other in practice, and it is so great to see them having fun together.  We also strive to represent Christ in the way we train, compete, and treat each other.”