By Doug Hawley
Judging by remarks made at the Carpet Capital Running Club’s recent 22nd annual banquet, look for Dalton State College’s first cross country team to be a viable addition to the local sports community.
“We’re expecting to have $40,000 for cross country scholarships,” said DSC athletic director Derek Waugh, who served as featured speaker Saturday night at the Dalton Golf and Country Club. “We know that cross country will be an important part of our athletic program.”
Cross country will kick off in earnest next fall for both the men and women Roadrunners.
“I know that the discipline you people here tonight have shown as winners is mind-boggling,” Waugh told some 75 people. “I admire all of you so much.”
The athlectic director urged CCRC to take a direct role in the school’s cross country program.
“I urge this club to adopt the cross country program,” Waugh said. “Help however you can.”
With a smile, he declared, “Please adopt us! We’re up for adoption!”
Andy Meyer and Margie Bruner will be coaching the men’s and women’s teams, respectively, in NAIA competition.
“From the research I’ve found, we’ll be competing against men’s teams in our conference who run 26 and 27 minutes (in the standard 8-kilometer races),” Meyer pointed out. “The women will be in the 17, 18 and 19s in the 5K. We certainly will need some good runners to compete.”
Waugh stressed four primary points regarding benefits of cross country and other first-time sports for the school, including:
• An opportunity for local athletes who would not need to leave the area.
• Attracting residents from other parts of the country.
• A growth enrollment which several years down the road which could attract 8,000 students.
• To become a top athletic program in the NAIA.
The night’s events honored the Runners of the Year recipients, who were awarded based on points through 14 designated events.
Mitchell Hayes was named the overall Runner of the Year for men. Other male award winners were Alan Haigler (16-39), David Maghani (Masters 40-49), Bret Yeager (Grand Masters 50-59) and Frank Patterson and Doug Hawley (Matriarchs, 60-over).
Rhonda Gage was the overall female Runner of the Year. Other female award winners were Rosie Martinez and Karen Hayes (Masters) and Joyce Yeager (Grand Masters).
Eric Zimmerman earned the accolade as Volunteer of the Year with 1,055 points. Rounding out the top five were Randall Godwin (985), Chris Zimmernan (710), David Leatherman (665) and Ricky Harrison (625).
Honorable Mention recognition went to David Sanders, Sally Little, Mitchell Hayes, Micheael Hicks and Rose Martinez.
Members of The Daily Citizen’s All-Area high school cross country team also were honored, headed by Isaac Pacheco of North Murray and Bekah Houston of Dalton as the Runners of the Year.
Others included Brady Cook and Parker Cook (Northwest Whitfield), Servio Martinez (Murray County) and Francisco Perez (Dalton) for the boys and Natalie Williams and Shelby Wilson (Northwest), Ashley Parham (Dalton) and Nayeli Jacobo (Murray).
Erica Zimmerman took office as CCRC’s new president. She was joined by Kristy Tate, vice president; Rick Little, treasurer; and Greg Bruner, Randall Godwin and Jennifer Cooley, board of directors.