Bucyrus Elementary cross country club starts second year

Bucyrus City School District students in third through sixth grade have the opportunity to participate in athletic competition thanks to the efforts of a Bucyrus alum, his wife, and an Elementary School teacher.

Bucyrus graduate C.J. Haldeman and his wife Kelly were inspired to start a cross country program for these students after assisting with another program in Crawford County. The couple approached Bucyrus High School head cross country coach Carl Rittenour about the idea, and with his support the cross country club was born.

“Our purpose is to engage children in a team sport that can potentially lead to a lifelong love of running, to serve as a feeder program for our middle school cross country team, and to build school spirit,” Bucyrus Elementary teacher and avid runner Kim Haldeman said. “We stress preparing for participating in a sport by stretching, getting appropriate rest and nutrition, and setting individual and team goals.”

A bonus of the club has been the cohesiveness that has developed between the elementary runners and the middle school/high school runners. The elder Redmen give their younger counterparts pep talks and cheer them on!

“We practice for an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Aumiller Park,” Haldeman said. “Our practices include student-led stretches, runs from distances of 1 mile to 4 miles, and an occasional round of zombie tag!”

The 12 runners that make up the cross country club compete in a number of events at distances from 1/2 mile to 1 mile. Several notable events include the Colonel Crawford Invitational, the Elks Invitational and the Wynford Invitational.

“This is a fantastic program for our students,” Bucyrus Elementary School Principal Tim Souder said. “It’s great seeing our younger Redmen interact with the Middle School and High School student-athletes, creating a strong bond between our school buildings.”

Please call the Bucyrus Elementary School office at 419-562-6089 for additional details about the cross country club.