The accomplishment is small and will not occur on a cross country course, but Rocky Mount Academy’s runners will laugh along with their coach when they gather on one of the school’s activity buses this fall.
Because of the number of athletes – 11 girls, five boys – Rocky Mount Academy’s cross country program will take a bigger bus to road meets instead of the smaller one used in years past that often had as many wheels as athletes who traveled in it.
“We want the big bus,” Eagles coach Michelle Meadows said. “We are a real sport and want to grow the team. We’re really excited that nearly everyone came back from last year and started talking with their friends. We’re excited to see where this year takes us.”
Meadows and the Eagles have grown particularly on the girls’ side.
Rocky Mount Academy fielded enough athletes on the girls’ side in 2011 to score as a team, but this season, they have nearly doubled in numbers.
Led by senior returnees Cam Dengler and sophomore Meg Deyton, the Eagles are a group of runners who have begun taking the sport seriously.
Meadows, an avid runner herself, ran road course races after last season and was surprised to see some of her athletes compete, as well.
On more than one occasion, some of those athletes have approached Meadows about starting a winter running club at the school in order to keep their fitness.
Meadows said Dengler currently is training for a marathon.
“They are talking about taking it beyond the season, which is exciting for me,” Meadows said. “They are really adopting the lifestyle.”
As a whole, the Eagles might not be quite ready to catch title-winning teams like Cary Christian, but in just her second year at the helm, Meadows has a group of willing athletes who could one day compete for a title.
Perhaps an even bigger bus will soon be in order.
Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or email@example.com