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September 16, 2013

A Look Ahead: Roadrunners finally coming home

Thursday will mark the next major milestone for Dalton State College athletics.

For the first time in the school’s new era of sports, the Roadrunners will host a team in the Carpet Capital as Dalton State’s women’s volleyball team faces Reinhardt University at 6:30 p.m. at Dalton High School’s Cats Den.

If you cheer for the blue and white, this is your best chance yet to show support and be part of another special moment for the college. Volleyball has had the chance to lead the way when it comes to “firsts” for the athletic program, having already played the first contest (they lost Aug. 20 at Southern Wesleyan University in Central, S.C.) and secured the first victory (they won Sept. 3 at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland) in this new era.

And Thursday is just the first of two home matches this week — at noon Saturday, Dalton State hosts Truett-McConnell College, also at Dalton High School. The Roadrunners had hoped to play all of their home matches at Bandy Gymnasium on the Dalton State campus, but renovations haven’t finished and it isn’t likely to be able to host competition until late next month.

After this week’s matches and until Bandy is ready, Roadrunners volleyball will host home matches at the Dalton Parks and Recreation Department’s Mack Gaston Community Center.

• Cross country isn’t always the friendliest of spectator sports. Sometimes fans — unless they’re willing to be almost as mobile as the race’s participants — might only get one or two glimpses of the runners as they make their way around the course.

Another downside is that, unlike some other sports, home meets are generally rare, meaning that seeing your team means following it out of town. In the case of lots of local high school programs, the schedule is stocked with Chattanooga Cross Country League meets and invitationals outside of Murray and Whitfield counties.

That second drawback will be drawn back this week for the supporters of several local middle school and high school cross country teams as they compete Tuesday at Northwest Whitfield’s Bruin Invitational at Edwards Park in Varnell.

Competition begins at 4:30 p.m. with the middle school girls race, which will be followed by middle school boys (5 p.m.), varsity boys (5:40 p.m.), varsity girls (6:10 p.m.) and junior varsity (6:45 p.m.), with awards ceremonies also on the schedule.

In the high school meets, the host Bruins and Lady Bruins are scheduled to be joined by Dalton, North Murray and Southeast Whitfield, among others.

There’s also plenty of softball and volleyball competition involving local teams this week, much of it with region or sub-region positioning on the line as tournament time draws ever nearer. For softball teams, region tournaments are less than three weeks away. For volleyball teams, it’s less than a month before the area brackets are served up.

Check out the area prep sports schedule in the “Scoreboard” section on page 3B of today’s paper for the complete week’s listing of competitions involving local teams.

• Don’t forget to go online to daltonnow.com/events from time to time to see what’s new in our Local Sports Calendar. Fall is a boom time for charity golf tournaments, and there are no shortage of scrambles and good causes in the coming weeks.

It’s a chance to get out your clubs for fun and your wallet to help out charities, local sports programs and more.

Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. Got something you’d like to see highlighted in “A Look Ahead"? Write to him at devingolden@daltoncitizen.com.

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