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On the map

Waldron's Madeline Douglas, left, and Jacob James, right, have been named The Shelbyville News' Cross Country Runners of the Year.

By KRIS MILLS - kmills@shelbynews.com

In the Indiana cross country world, despite its size, Waldron is firmly on the map — all thanks to sophomore Madeline Douglas and junior Jacob James.

The two are pushed in practice by teammates, of course, but cross country, unlike most high school sports, is an individual ride. Douglas and James do it better than anyone in the area.

The program at Waldron is small but the pair’s accomplishments are not.

Douglas broke the WHS school record, which was set in 2010 by Megan Everhart, in just her second season of varsity cross country. She ended the season with an appearance in the Shelbyville Semistate.

James qualified for state for the first time in his career, using a second-place finish (15:55) at the Shelbyville Regional to solidify his name as one of the best in central Indiana.

For their efforts, Douglas and James have been named The Shelbyville News’ Cross Country Runners of the Year.

“I am very proud that me and Madeline are able to perform at a state level even though we are a small school,” James said. “I thinks it’s quite amazing that Madeline is the fastest girl to ever come through Waldron, and I can’t wait to be the fastest boy.”

The pair won conference and county titles this season after doing so last year, as well. 

“It can be nerve wracking before some of the bigger races against the bigger schools,” Douglas said. “But I just try to focus on my time.

“I think this season went well. I worked really hard during the offseason and was able to cut off 58 seconds from my personal best. I was very excited to get the school record. Halfway through the season, I accepted that I wasn’t going to get it. But then we had a meet in Shelbyville. It was a cooler day. I beat it (record) by six seconds then and was able to beat it by one second at the regional.”

In practice, James and Douglas, in their second season running together, have spent plenty of time around one another. That is normal in a sport like cross country. Bonds are formed after miles and miles of work. And although they compete in different races, the Waldron duo undoubtedly pushes each other to be the best they can be.

Douglas finished 99th at the Shelbyville Semistate in 20:47, while James was 11th in 16:00. In sectional action, Douglas was eighth overall, while James finished third.

“I’d say she’s more of a quiet person,” James said. “Has she made me a better runner? I’d like to say yes, because I can’t have her running faster than me, right?

“Madeline is a very dedicated runner. This winter season, she hasn’t let cheerleading get in the way of her training, She still runs on the weekends and after practice.”

Douglas said James is a very driven runner. His work ethic brings out the best in the team. 

“Jacob works hard in practice everyday,” Douglas said. “He is constantly focused on each race. He really wants to show his talent in each race.

“We work out together some days. He is always pushing me.”

James eventually finished 126th overall at the IHSAA State Finals in 17:26.

As for next season? James hopes he isn’t the only Mohawk racing at state. Douglas agreed.

“Overall, I want to make it to semistate again,” Douglas said. “I didn’t think I would be able to get that far. Hopefully, I can get there again (and more) next year. State would be awesome.”

Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.