The Friends of Reading Recreation Middle School cross country team was organized this past spring and started practicing last month. Their first race is Oct. 7.
According to Coach Dan Princic, last fall there was a "loosely run" program that practiced together a few times and then competed in a couple of races, but this fall they are more organized.
"We have 34 kids on the roster this year and are averaging around 25 at each practice," Princic said.
The team practices three times a week after school at the Imagination Station across from the Coolidge Middle School. The students take advantage of the fields at the Birch Meadow Complex and the RMHS track.
"We've only been practicing for a few weeks so far, and I'm just enjoying the experience. The kids here in Reading really are great. They have all been so enthusiastic and willing to push themselves from the beginning. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the season," he said.
The team's first race is on Sunday, Oct. 7 at the Wayland XC challenge. Their first home meet is on Sunday, Oct. 14 at the Reading Town Forest. The public is welcome to support the kids, or to sign up for the open two mile race.
This is Princics first time coaching middle school students, but he did coach track at Woburn High School and college cross country and track at his alma mater Allegheny College. He also worked as an assistant coach at Northern Arizona University.
"For me, the best part about coaching cross country is all about watching new runners experience personal bests. Guiding a runner towards faster and faster times, past distances many of them never thought they could run, is such a rewarding experience," he told Patch.