VHS starts cross country team

Published 9:59 pm Wednesday, September 8, 2010

VERBENA – Over the past few years, Verbena has fielded teams in fewer sports than any other local school.

But the Red Devils now has something no one else does: a cross country team.

The VHS runners, coached by Jonathan Shedd, competed in their first meet on Sept. 4, the Hornets Invitational, hosted by Beauregard at the Auburn High School Track Club.

The Devils fared well considering their abbreviated training schedule caused by the sport being new.

“You like to get in 100 miles over the summer, and none of them came anywhere near that,” Shedd said. “We spent the whole month of August trying to build mileage, and that’s hard because of the heat. We had only run three miles twice before Saturday.”

Still, sophomore Fred Wright ran the 5K (3.1 miles) course in 22:59.20, 44th out of 64 competitors from schools like Alabama Christian (Class 4A), Auburn (6A), Beauregard (4A), Dadeville (4A), Russell County (5A), Smiths Station (6A) and St. James (4A).

Senior Kelly Dorsett wasn’t far behind Wright, in 49th with a time of 23:57.80—one day after playing in a football game.

Seventh grader Coy Lucas finished 19th in the junior high division, which runs a 3K, with a time of 14:19, and Raymond Bulger, another seventh grader, was 25th with a time of 16:36.

Varsity girls Allyson Brown, a junior, and Celeste Leverette, a sophomore, also competed. Times weren’t available for the girls.

Shedd, who will also coach a track and field team in the spring, said he wanted to provide an additional extracurricular activity for students that don’t play football, the only other fall sport.

He said cross country and track differ from other sports because not as much inherent athletic ability is necessary.

“All you’ve got to do is work hard, get out there and run every day and say I’m going to work to be faster than the other guy,” Shedd said. “If you have that mentality, you’re going to be successful.”

The Devils will next compete on Sept. 18 in a meet at Goodhope.