PREPS: With no fall football or volleyball, Crescent eyes cross country

JOYCE — Class 1B schools were mostly left out last week when the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced its plan to hold four prep sports seasons during the 2020-21 school year, including moving fall sports football and volleyball to March.

Football and volleyball are the only falls sports offered by 1B schools Crescent, Quilcene, Clallam Bay and Neah Bay, but that could swiftly change.

Crescent School District Superintendent Dave Bingham said he was exploring the possibility of adding cross country this fall in order for Loggers athletes to have an outlet. He sent a survey to high school students and parents after learning of the WIAA decision last week.

“Based on [last Tuesday] night’s decision, we really can’t go through the fall without some kind of sports season,” Bingham said. “There are numerous studies that show students that are actively engaged in co-curricular activity are more engaged in school. I can’t imagine not exploring some activity, and I want to see if we get enough interest to make it financially viable.”

Bingham said reaching double figures in turnout would be key.

“If we can get about 10 kids between boys and girls, I think we will try and find some cross country meets to participate in and offer something,” he said. “I sent out a survey about two and a half hours ago, real simple, if you as a student or parent would like to participate in cross country this fall.”

Bingham said the outdoor sport offers the space required for physical distance between competitors and is relatively light on the budget line.

“Plenty of room for social distancing, and we have access to some of those places for sure [of running at nearby locations such as Salt Creek County Park, the Lyre River trailhead or even in Olympic National Park],” Bingham said.

If the interest is there, Bingham believes fielding a cross country team is achievable.

“It doesn’t take a whole lot in terms of equipment — uniforms are a pretty easy thing to handle —and I’ve got two or three people who I think would be interested in coaching cross country,” Bingham said.

“I think the answer is yes,” he added. “I think I can get strong support from [Port Angeles Athletic Director] Dwayne Johnson in terms of setting up competitions. And, truthfully, if you are a basketball, volleyball or football player, cross country is an extraordinary opportunity to improve your physical fitness.”

If the Loggers field a cross country team, it wouldn’t be the first time. Crescent’s first cross country squad was started by physical education teacher and coach Jim Maynard in fall 1963, and a number of Crescent students have competed as solo cross country runners over the years.

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Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or at [email protected].

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