The Campus Community High School athletic program has buffed up the amount of fall sports it offers by adding a cross-country team to this year's lineup.

In an effort to increase the amount of what it offers to its student body, the Campus Community High School has added a fourth sport to its lineup of fall programs.

Joining boys soccer, field hockey and girls volleyball when training camps kick off in mid-August this year will be the new co-ed cross-country program.

Campus offers two sports in the winter and three in the spring, meaning the fall will become the busiest season for the school’s athletic department.

Bob Beron, athletic director at Campus, said adding a new sport was something he had wanted to do for a while to offer more enrolled students athletic opportunity.

“It’s a way to get kids involved that might not want to [participate in] the other sports that we have,” Beron said. “And it’s a very inexpensive sport and doesn’t require much to be able to participate.”

The idea of the team initially came from Marc Johnson, a science teacher at the school, who has been tagged as the head coach.

Johnson said he approached Beron in an effort to start a track and field team, but when that option was explored and it was deemed unfeasible, cross-country entered into the picture.

Since the program has been announced, Johnson said he’s already gotten interest from seven students that have been participating in a summer workout in preparation for the season, with approximately five other athletes from other sports expressing interest as well.

“We’ve been doing some strength training, teaching the kids how to breathe and doing endurance drills,” he said. “We’re hoping to be very competitive.”

In their first season, the Cougars will run six meets, one tri-meet and the Diamond State Conference Championship meet to end the season. If the team or any of its individual runners qualify, Campus could have participants in the state championship meet as well.

The catch through the inaugural campaign, however, is that all meets will be run away from home at each opponent’s home course.

All that is left for Johnson is to get as many kids to come run for him as he possibly can.

On top of the kids he already has interested, the new coach said he’s trying to recruit some other athletes in the school by selling the team as a way to get in shape for their respective sports.

Johnson said he’s already talked to boys basketball Head Coach Michael Fabber and the two coaches agree that cross-country would be a great physical activity for the basketball players to participate in while preparing for the winter season.

“We definitely have a lot of kids that are looking to cross train for some of their seasonal sports,” he said. “And you never know, you may end up finding your calling in this sport when you’ve never seen it before.”

Even though the program is new this year, Johnson said people shouldn’t be shocked to see the Cougars surprise a few teams.

“We definitely can at least raise some eyebrows and compete with the rest of the area,” he said. “I’m going to push them. I know what it takes to win and practice is always going to be more difficult.

“I’m looking forward to it and the kids are excited to get going.”

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