A larger group of country crossers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 31, 2005

If they wore pads and helmets, the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy cross-country squad could be mistaken for a football team.

&uot;It was a combination of things,&uot; coach Nancy Geeting said of pulling in her team’s roughly 30 participants. &uot;We sent out some letters to recruit from the lower school, and we had an enthusiastic core group that encouraged others to come out.

&uot;Run as much as you can,&uot; Geeting told her squad before they embarked on the 5K (3.1 mile) course around the school Tuesday. &uot;Walk if necessary. Don’t worry if people finish way before you; I’m not worried about that. I want you to feel what it’s like to complete the course. I know it’s hot and muggy today, but that’s what it’s going to be like at a meet.&uot;

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The team’s first meet is Sept. 8 against Catholic at Mount Trashmore, and their sole home meet is Oct. 13.

&uot;I’m really excited,&uot; said senior Melissa Lowder. &uot;I feel like the team has gotten to the size I always felt it should have been, and I’m really excited about giving it all for my final year. I want to break my personal best of about 23:32.&uot;

She’s not wasting any time; only a few weeks after cracking a few ribs in an accident, Lowder’s already back pounding around the course.

&uot;I’m seeing how that goes,&uot; she said, indicating her injury. &uot;I’ve healed up pretty well.&uot;

One newcomer is thetamore Bobby Writtenberry.

&uot;I’m pretty much a fast runner,&uot; he said. &uot;I really wanted to do it to keep me in shape. I hope I get some good runs.&uot;

He’s already whipping through the 5K.

&uot;I did better than I thought I would,&uot; he said. &uot;I was really surprised I could do it. I felt good, just worn out.&uot;