Berkeley needs two girls cross country runners to complete team

  • Monday, July 7, 2014

Dan Brown/IndependentLady Stags cross country runners Grace Marker, Cheyenne Benack and Shelby Daskowski are hard at work with their summer training program in preparation for the 2014 season.

Calling all girls!

The Berkeley Lady Stags cross country team needs girl runners and Coach Melissa Hicks has put out the call for any and all female student athletes interested in running cross country this fall.

Hicks wants to field a girls running team. In her three years as the BHS cross country coach she has managed to entice a handful of girls to run, but never more than three in a season and not enough to qualify as a complete Region 8AAA team.

“One year I had only one female,” she said.

In order for the girls to compete as a team five runners are needed, however, seven is usually considered a complete team.

Hicks has three girl runners this summer so far but would like more. “At this point none of my three girls from last year are returning to the team. One graduated, one had knee problems, and the third,

“I am hoping we can work something out with her busy schedule and have her back on the team with us,” she said.

The three runners Hicks does have are two rising seventhgraders and a rising freshman.

“They are showing up to every summer conditioning practice which is very promising,” she said.

Hicks has two more that are interested but both have busy schedules this summer.

If Hicks can keep the interested runners she has through the summer until the start of the 2014-2015 school year she may be able to field her first-ever Lady Stags competitive cross country team.

“I plan on attending the ninth- graders Stag Stampede in August at the high school and try to recruit more runners at that time,” she said.

Hicks has enjoyed unprecedented success at the helm of the school’s cross country program, taking the boys team to the state meet in 2013.

“It is difficult for me to recruit at the high school because I teach at the middle school,” she said.

“I would love to see both the boys and girls teams field a total of 20 or more runners. This will give us enough runners to have a varsity and junior varsity squad.”

Attrition hits her cross country program hard as Hicks continues to lose about six to eight boys a year due to graduation.

“However, I am usually able to add those back with the new boys that come out each year,” she said.

“The girls’ team has been more of a struggle.

“I have a great bunch of kids and anyone that wants to join our team will develop great friendships, improved work ethics, and a love for fitness and being healthy.”

The teams run three nights a week at the Pinopolis United Methodist Church on Pinopolis Road in Pinoplis at 6:30 p.m.

Interested runners can check the Berkeley Cross Country group page on Facebook or contact the Berkeley High School athletics office at 843-899-8805.

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