Keith Geiger considers himself a runner.
It’s something he enjoys and does fairly often.
This summer, he had more of a purpose to run. Geiger, Worcester Prep’s boys basketball coach, had to map out a home course for the new cross country team this fall.
About 20 runners showed up to the first practice Monday, Aug. 24, which was more than Geiger thought would come out.
“I think they are all coming back,” Geiger said on Tuesday. “It’s a hard sport. It’s just you running. There is nothing else to it.”
By 3 p.m., Geiger was right because most had come back out.
Prep will run in the Bayside meets and Tidewater Invitational, athletic director Matt McGinnes said.
It was a simple decision to add cross country because of the cost effectiveness and providing students with another sport to choose.
“I think it’s a great addition to Worcester athletics,” Sarah Coon said. “We had a big demand for more of an individual sport, and I think it’s a great way for people to get together and enjoy exercise and living healthy.”
The senior from Lewes, Delaware has been runner for a while now, but the only time she ran competitively was her freshman year at Cape Henlopen High School.
After the first day of practice, Coon said it was a good mix of experienced and beginner runners.
“I’m brand new to this,” sophomore Matt Wilson said.
He ran 2.4 miles Monday, which was too difficult for the lacrosse player from Ocean Pines.
Cross country at Worcester Prep will give athletes like Wilson an opportunity to stay in shape during the fall. Soccer is always an option, but not everyone likes soccer.
“There’s something kind of beautiful about the simplicity of running cross country,” Geiger said. “It’s just a race.”
The coach does not expect to be competitive as a team with so many new to the sport. The first few years will be about building interest and having fun.
There is no pressure to perform.
Geiger has some pretty cool places to run mapped out as well.
Around the school’s campus is one mile, and the county complex is also a mile.
“I’m thinking we can run, Berlin is a nice little town — America’s Coolest Small Town,” he said. “Maybe we can do some loops in there.”