by J.C. Dickey
Red River Junior High Cross Country is starting to make some noise in the cross country circles. Coached by Mrs. Brunson, a 7th grade English teacher, is creating something special in the area of distance running in Red River Parish. Last year Mrs. Brunson started recruiting everyone that was willing to run to join her cross country team. With just a few girls and guys on the team there was never enough to compete as a full team just as individuals and on occasions those students finished very well and the excitement grew. Coach Brunson went to work and coach track in the spring last year and from there was able to recruit a few more runners to join her team the next season.
This season the RRJH Boys were able to enter each meet with a full team and started to make their mark early on in the season. In their very first meet of the season and one of the biggest meets of the year RRJH had boys finishing in the top 10 and as a team finished 6th. If you don’t know much about Cross Country the top 5 runners on your team count in your total points and the faster each runner finishes compared to the other teams is how you finish as a team. Which means every runner has to always do their best because even if your top runners don’t win, together they might still score enough points to win.
This last weekend on Oct 21, 2023 our RRJH Cross Country team joined other small districts in the area and all of the Caddo Parish teams to run at Huntington High School for the Middle School Caddo District Championships. There were 12 area teams and about 70 kids in each division running and after coming off a 2 week break our kids were ready to compete.
When the gun went off about 10:30 Saturday morning our boys were off and running with one intention in mind, to win the meet as a team. Eight Minutes, fifty four and 6 tenths seconds later the first Red River Junior High runner crossed the finish line, Logan Mims in 3rd place followed closely by 4th place Ga’Micheal Black (8:54.9) and 5th place Landyn Lewis (9:03.1). As the race went on RRJH waited to see where the final 2 runners would cross the line and JaDavion Banks and Daniel Griggs both finished in the top 25 finishing out our top 5 runners.
When all the runners finished and the scores tallied, Red River Junior High School Boys finished 1st Place in the Non-Caddo Schools Division winning the meet. Coach Brunson was thrilled and so excited for her boys but she wanted to take a closer look at the scores. As she compared the scores to all the schools in attendance, Caddo and Non-Caddo schools, she realized our boys finished 2nd overall, missing first place by just 6 points. This is an incredible feat understanding how small of a school Red River Junior High is in comparison to all the other schools there. Ultimately our school with about 260 students almost beat out a school of over 1,000 students. When asked how Coach Brunson felt today she said, “I am just really proud of the work these athletes have put in this season and today it showed.”
This boys and girls team will compete again at the Louisiana Junior High Cross Country State Championship Meet November 11, 2023. We wish the team the best of luck and know they will be representing Red River Parish strong in the coming weeks.
Also at the meet RRJH had two girls runners compete, that is not enough for a full team but they were able to compete individually. The two runners were Ava Dickey and Carmindy Price. Ava Dickey finished 8th place overall with a time of 10:57 and Carmindy Price finished in the top 25 with a time of 12:57.8. Coach Brunson hopes we get a few more girls to come out next season so they too can have a full team to compete for team honors.