Blooming Grove has an up-and-coming cross country program under new coach Jody Hawkins, and her team will take center stage on Saturday morning.
The Lions will host the Blooming Grove Cross Country Invitational at 9 a.m. Saturday morning. The course goes through the high school’s sports complex.
There are over 900 athletes entered and 29 teams. Class 4A schools Corsicana, Ennis and Waxahachie will compete as will 5A Duncanville.
“We wanted to give the meet the feel of a state championship course and i believe the runners will certainly feel that way out on the course,” Hawkins said. “We set up fan zones for spectators and plenty of bleachers for the crowds to enjoy the race.”
The 1A/2A division includes Golden Circle area teams from Dawson, Mildred, Rice and Wortham. Hawkins also brought in some strong small school teams including Christian Ovilla, Bruceville-Eddy and Whitney.
The Blooming Grove boys could be the story of the meet. The Lions are closing in on a Top 10 state ranking after taking third place and finishing two points behind No. 3 Bruceville-Eddy at the Waco Midway Meet last weekend.
The Lions have a deep team including top runner Hunter Hawkins, a junior, and his brother Skyler, a freshman. Other top runners are senior Richard Conger and junior Daniel Pelzel and Wes Tipping. Tyler Baumgartner and Cole Harris are talented freshmen.
“The team really seems to have each others back every race,” Hawkins said. “If one is feeling bad, another steps in to help out.”
One runner who will be missing Saturday morning is Lions junior Morgan Adams, who was injured in a car accident last week. Adams is doing much better and was transferred from Parkland Hospital to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas to continue his treatment and rehab.
“When I assigned the 900 bib numbers last night the computer generated system labeled Morgan as the No. 1 bib-numbered runner,” Hawkins said. “The team is going to wear pink wrist bands with a “M” on them, because Morgan is a survivor.
“I think his accident really opened the eyes of the student population here at Blooming Grove. We pray for his continual imorovement.”
Blooming Grove Cross Country Invitational
When: Saturday, 8 a.m. varsity boys; 8:30 a.m., JV boys; 9 a.m. varsity girls, 9:30 a.m., JV girls followed junior high boys and girls
Where: Blooming Grove High School Sports Complex
1A/2A Teams: Blooming Grove, Bruceville-Eddy, Buffalo, Bynum, Cayuga, Coolidge, Dawson, Harmony Science, Itasca, Live Oak Classical, Malakoff, Methodist, Mildred, Ovilla Christian, Palmer, Red Oak Life, Riesel, Rice, Shelton, Teague, Whitney, Wortham.
3A/4A/5A: Corsicana, Duncanville, Ennis, Fairfield, Ferris, Hillsboro, Red Oak Junior High, Waxahachie.