For the first time, Paden City High School and the elementary school fielded cross country teams, which opened their seasons last weekend in St. Marys. The PCHS team has seven athletes on it, which the elementary school has six runners on it. Both teams are coached by Kim Huffman.
"We're so excited," Huffman said. "We have had kids in the past interested in running cross country, but we just have not had enough to field a full team. This year, we do."
Huffman, who has been head coach of the Wildcat Boys Track Team for the past several years, believes the cross country program will add to the Spring track season for both the boys and girls teams.
"We've lacked distance runners on the track team, and I believe this program will enhance that aspect of our track team, not to mention the cross training this sport allows for all the other sports the kids participate in here."
As it is, several of the athletes on the team not only participate on other teams throughout the year, but during the same season as cross country. Four members of the team will compete with the cheerleading squad and six with the Wildcat Marching band while simultaneously competing on the cross country team.
Members of the varsity team are junior Austin Quinn and sophomores Mallory Estel, Amber Neff, Ciera Yoho, Hannah Stanley, Dean Frye, and Kayla Hizer. The middle school athletes will consist of five eighth graders Evan Shreve, Cade Myers, Cade Crislip, Jake Pierce, and Madaline Cox; and sixth grader Hannah Loy.
"We have high expectations for each of them," Huffman said. "We don't expect them to go out and win every single competition we enter, but we do expect them to give their best effort every time out, and I know they will. This is a group of good kids who want to participate and we believe they'll do well."