Cross Country Program Continues to Grow Into Top Team

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Cross Country Program Continues to Grow Into Top Team

Emma Taylor, Sports Editor

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Taking nothing and turning it into something was how the GRC cross country team was built.

Starting off begging to just get one trophy, no matter
what it was for, to now
striving to remain one of the top programs in the state.

When head coach Dodd Dixon began coaching for his first year in 2005, his primary motive was to build the track team up, as it was lacking in distance runners. 

“When I started as a track coach,” Dixon says. “I had no idea I would fall in love with the sport of cross country.” 

In the beginning, it was a struggle to get five athletes to show up in matching uniforms, ready to race. The
team didn’t have the mentality of cross country runners; they were track kids who were trying cross
country. 

Over time, the program became stronger and stronger and hasn’t slowed since. 

“Before, nobody knew who GRC was,” Dixon says. “Now they talk about us; they fear us.”

The journey to where the team stands now hasn’t been easy.

“This is my 19th year coaching, and you’d think I’d have it all figured out, but each year is different,” Dixon says. “There’s always a new challenge. Each team is all composed of different athletes,
different issues, different goals, and different potential.” 

Through it all the team continues to grow despite all the hardships.

“We’ve been preaching this year a top ten program; we’ve been a top 20 program in the state for a long time,” Dixon says. “Both boys’ and girls’ teams have the potential to be a top ten in the state program.”

Physical ability hasn’t been the only factor to success, but the atmosphere around it has as well. 

“It’s that very collegiate environment where everybody works together and everybody enjoys each other,” Dixon says. “I think that’s the biggest factor.”

The development of trust between the teammates
allows for everyone to play off each other’s strengths leading to that extra level of team chemistry.

“I get so much joy from watching all the runners grow up,” Dixon says. “All the money in the world is not worth what I have gained from each and every one of the students who have been on my teams.”

Starting from scratch may seem too difficult to do, but obviously when done right, the trophies and accomplishments are not the greatest rewards.