Adams County Christian School cross country runners Sarah Clancy runs on the ACCS track during practice Thursday. (JUSTIN SELLERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT)
Adams County Christian School cross country runners Mason Nettles, left, and Sarah Clancy run on the ACCS track during practice Thursday. (JUSTIN SELLERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT)

Archived Story

ACCS looking to build cross country program with youth

Published 12:12am Friday, October 25, 2013

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Christian School cross country team will head into Monday’s Class Championship meet in Clinton with just two meets under its belt.

But cross country coach Dee Ray said she’s not worried about it adversely affecting her runners.

“I expect them to do well,” Ray said. “We’ve been working so hard, and at one of the meets we placed second, so I’m expecting good things.”

It’s year two for the resurrected ACCS track program, which Ray is helping coach along with the Rev. Doug Broome. While her program has two senior girls — Maggie Ray and Sarah Clancy — the majority of her runners are freshmen and junior high athletes, she said.

“We’re a very young team,” Ray said.

So the coaches are looking to those younger runners to help build the school’s cross country program. So far, the team has taken baby steps throughout the fall.

“We’ve been fighting so many different adversities, and with us only being able to go to two meets (before Monday’s), that’s not what we wanted, because we need the experience,” Ray explained. “We’ve just had to make do.”

Some athletes run to help get in shape for girls soccer and basketball, and Ray said she has no problem with ACCS students using the sport as a supplement to other sports.

“This helps so many different sports,” she explained. “Everyone needs to get in shape, even the cheerleaders, though it’s a different kind of shape. It gets you ready for the court or the soccer field.

“We have one girl out here who said she was here just for soccer, but I don’t care, as long as they’re out here.”

Sophomore Mackenzie Boyd is a perimeter player for the girls basketball team, but she said she would do cross country even if she wasn’t a basketball player.

“I’ve been running since eighth grade,” Boyd said. “It gives me something to do, and if I run (cross country), it will help with track, too.”

Boyd also said she can tell the benefits of running for the cross country team when she goes to basketball practice immediately afterward.

“If I run, when I get on the court and start sprinting, I won’t be as out of breath and out of shape,” Boyd explained.

Like her coach, Boyd said she has high hopes of the team’s chances Monday in the Class Championship.

“I’m nervous, but I have a good feeling, because we’ve been training so hard,” Boyd said.

Lady Rebels head coach Melanie Hall had a number of players running Thursday afternoon, and she said in an ideal world, 100 percent of her squad would participate in cross country.

“I only wish I had all my girls running,” Hall said. “I’ve been blessed to have teams in my past that have been required to run. There are so many benefits.”

Watching Ray and Broome run the school’s program this fall, Hall said she’s been highly impressed with what she’s witnessed.

“These are the best cross country workouts we’ve had since I’ve been here, in my opinion,” Hall said. “To be able to have your kids in that good of condition to play basketball — I’ve seen the difference it’s made in the girls that are running.”