A much larger and greatly improved St. Louis College Prep cross country team kicked off its season last weekend at the Forest Park Cross Country Festival.
St. Louis College Prep athletic director Tim Basler said he was really happy with how the team did in the race, noting that a number of scholars had shown major improvement over last year.
“Jon Watson improved his time by four minutes this year,” said Basler. “This is Jon’s second year running with the team and he has really improved a lot. He did a great job and has come a really long way.”
Basler said he was also looking forward to seeing how Ramel Adkins and Reggie Ross do in future meets.
“It is going to be exciting to watch them improve,” he said. “They both work very hard and are a lot of fun to coach.”
Basler said the team practices Monday through Thursday and on Saturdays, largely focused on running through the Lafayette and downtown areas.
The cross-country team has grown considerably this year, increasing from just four runners last year to a team of 20 scholars this year
“I have all of the returning boy’s basketball team running in cross country for conditioning this year,” he said. “We are growing our program to the point where we can do multi season conditioning
“We ran three meets last year,” he added, noting that the team will compete in five meets this year. “Last year was a learning year for our kids, so our goal was to find a love for running and finish each race.
Basler said he expects to see similar growth in other sports this year.
“I think we will have 40 to 50 kids playing basketball at the high school level this year,” he said. “We are looking at having 15-20 games at both the high school and middle school level. The kids are really starting to buy into this, which is nice. Last year the kids had never run cross-country and did not understand why I was making them do it. They are starting to understand why they should be running, because now they are not tired when they are running up and down the court.”
He said the school also plans on starting a track team in the spring and also offers volleyball through a rec league.
“Long term, we would love to build a football team and we are also looking at adding soccer down the road,” said Basler.
But for now, scholars will continue to excel on running path and the courts.
The cross country team’s next meet is this Saturday at Parkway Central, followed by a meat at Fox on Sept. 22, Hancock on Sept. 24, and final meet at Parkway West on Oct. 1.