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SHS cross country team plants tree

Members of the Shelbyville High School cross county team along with McIntire Lawn & Landscape owner Brad McIntire, far left, planted a red maple tree Friday at the cross country venue at Blue River Memorial Park in Shelbyville.

By JEFF BROWN - jbrown@shelbynews.com

Sparked by a recent free tree distribution event, members of Shelbyville High School’s cross country team came up with the idea to plant a tree on its home competition course.

On Friday, both the boys and girls teams provided the manpower to dig a hole, plant and secure a red maple tree, purchased from McIntire Lawn & Landscape in Shelbyville, in the ground approximately 50 yards from the finish line at the cross country venue at Blue River Memorial Park.

The simple gesture produced a meaningful result for the Golden Bears, who now plan to set up its team camp area near the tree at every meet.

“It’s kind of neat to see the kids want to take ownership in and take pride in the course because it’s state of the art,” said Shelbyville boys cross country coach Dan Theobald. “It’s neat to see they recognize that and want to put their mark on it too.”

There is discussion taking place of possibly getting Shelby County’s other four high school cross country programs, all of whom train and compete on the course throughout the year, to match the gesture and plant their own tree.

The Blue River Cross Country Venue is a national level championship running facility located in the southern part of Blue River Memorial Park in Shelbyville. The venue is host to elementary, middle school and high school and collegiate races, as well as postseason high school and collegiate races. It is also open to the public for use when competitions are not taking place.

Prior to its existence, high school cross country events were typically staged on campus with athletes running around school grounds. Now, the athletes can train on a championship course and compete there throughout the season.

“The only unfortunate part is you can’t really run over here (from SHS) and run back,” said Theobald, “but the kids enjoy it so much we actually added coming over here two days a week now. We changed that because they like running out here.”

The added addition of a walking/biking trail within the park makes training at the park more desirable, too.

“Now we have the trail that ties in getting over to the park, we try to get our long runs on the course and it breaks up the monotony of running on the road,” said Theobald. “The kids just like being out here and having room to roam. As far as workouts for us, it makes it so much easier. We can do so many things in one place whether its mile repeats or 400s or 200s at the end, we know where to run all these distances because it’s marked.

“They also like being out here because some of the other schools will be out here practicing, or college teams are out here practicing. They like seeing that.”