The Indian Hills middle school gym was a swarm of activity Tuesday afternoon. Kids dashed up to teachers, who checked their computers to make sure the students had their permission paperwork in. Dozens of students lined the gym walls in running shorts and shoes. Soon enough, new head coach Doug Jones directed students outside onto the school’s softball field for warm ups.
The Indian Hills Cross Country team was about to go for a run.
Postponed a day on account of Monday’s heat, Tuesday’s practice was the first-ever for the relaunched Indian Hills cross country team, one of the new middle school sports that was approved by the school board early this year. And based on early sign-up rates, it’s fair to say that interest in the new sports programs is significant.
New Indian Hills principal Scott Sherman said at one point the school thought there might be 50 or 60 kids interested in running cross country. More than 100 showed up for practice Tuesday — that’s nearly one out of every eight students at the school.
“The parents and kids are excited,” he said. “And you wonder if we might have more show up if the weather gets nicer.”
After some light stretching, the kids followed math teacher Nick Dailey out through the parking lot up on the Delmar Street for a quick jog. Seventh graders will be training for a one-mile competition run. For eight graders, it’s two miles.
Middle school wrestling started August 18, with 15 Indian Hills boys and one girl registered for the program. Girls basketball will start in October and boys basketball will start in January. Volleyball will kick off in the spring.
Seventh grade science teacher Sandy Laubermann is the coordinator for the new program at Indian Hills, and said organizing the teams — finding coaches, getting timing and travel logistics ironed out — has been a lot of work.
“But it’s been fun work,” she said. “We’ve gotten great response from students. I think this will be a great way to get kids excited about school and have school spirit.”
Indian Hills’ wrestling team has its first meet a week from today in a dual against Trailridge Middle School. The cross country team will compete Sept. 6 at the Greg Wilson Classic at Johnson County Community College.