Lady Eagles claw Lady Bobcats

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Lady Eagles picked up a big win over Opp. Tripp Norris/Star-News

The Lady Eagles picked up a big win over Opp.
Tripp Norris/Star-News

For the first time in more than a decade, Andalusia High School is fielding a cross-country team, and new head basketball coach Anthony Clark is leading the charge.

“When I accepted the position as basketball coach, I inquired about a cross-country team,” Clark said. “They were eager to let me have it, and I’m excited to get the program started.”

Clark said that he wanted to get kids interested in running.

“We just want to generate some excitement about the program,” Clark said. “There is a lot interest in 5Ks and there are a lot people around here that enjoy running. We wanted to give these kids a chance to compete.”

With a first-year program, Clark said there have and will be growing pains along the way.

“When we started out, we had 29 kids come out,” Clark said. “When the intensity and dedication picked up, we had some quit, and now we have seven girls and nine guys. These remaining kids are very dedicated and they are working hard. We know it may take us a few years to become an established program.”

Clark said that the team is young this year, but that the future looks bright for the Bulldog Cross-Country squad.

“We have a lot of young kids on the team this year,” Clark said. “They have really come a long way since we started. There were some kids that couldn’t run mile when we started, but now they can. We got a late start this year and didn’t have much time to train this summer. We have only be going for about seven or eight weeks. Once we get a season under our belt and summer workout program, we will improve.”

The young Bulldogs recently competed in a meet in Brewton, and although they didn’t place Clark said he was pleased with the results.

“We didn’t place Saturday, but as a coach I was pleased with what I saw,” Clark said. “We had 12 runners finish with personal best times, and as a coach that is all you can ask for.”

Clark said that this season he just wants to see continued strides from his team.

“Every race I just want them to try to get faster,” Clark said. “Just continue to improve individually, and as a coach that is all you can ask for.”

The Bulldogs aren’t the only newly formed cross-country team as Pleasant Home also joined into the mix. Clark said he hoped to get more schools in the surrounding counties would also get teams. Opp, Straughn, Pleasant Home and Andalusia now all have cross-country teams.

“It’s becoming a bigger sport,” Clark said of cross-country. “There are a lot of teams in the Mobile are that have teams, but outside of Mobile there aren’t many schools that field a cross-country teams. We are going to be holding a countywide cross-country meet on Oct. 27 and we hope that we can one day get all the schools in the county involved in.”