Ever since Columbus North debuted its new cross-country course in 2013, the Bull Dogs have had big plans for the Ceraland layout.
So far, the Bull Dogs have hosted only dual meets at the course. But Saturday, 30 boys teams and 29 girls teams will visit for the Inaugural Columbus North Classic.
“Certainly, Ceraland has been the key to this — the cooperation of the Ceraland staff and the beauty of the course out there,” North coach Rick Weinheimer said.
Another big key was that the meet is replacing an existing invitational. Martinsville has traditionally hosted its Artesian Classic on Labor Day weekend, but construction on State Road 37 has affected that course.
Most of the teams that went to Martinsville — including Columbus East and Jennings County — are now coming to Columbus.
“It’s hard to start an invitational because teams have committed someplace else,” Weinheimer said. “But with Martinsville not hosting anymore, that enabled us to pick up some teams. So that helped us avoid starting from scratch.”
The course at Ceraland was designed as a senior project by former Bull Dogs runner Josh Beiriger. Last year, North runner Chandler Steward made permanent markings and poles for the course for his senior project.
The varsity girls race will begin at 9 a.m., followed by the varsity boys at 9:30 a.m., JV girls at 10 a.m., JV boys at 10:30 a.m., middle school girls at 11 a.m. and middle school boys at 11:30 a.m. Admission is $5 per car.
Close to 1,000 runners are expected between the six races.
“We’re real excited,” Weinheimer said. “The first year, we were thinking 10-12 teams, so we’re really thrilled. We’re looking to put on a first-class opportunity for all of those kids.”
North wins Champion banner
Columbus North has been selected as a first-year Unified Champion School banner winner for 2015-16 as part of the Champions Together partnership between the IHSAA and Special Olympics Indiana.
The Champions of Character Challenge addresses the essential knowledge and skills needed to develop leaders and a character-driven high school athletic and activities program. The program introduces a range of topics of interest to athletes, parents and coaches who want to be successful.
To be eligible for the award, schools must meet five criteria: 1) Completes the school year with a 100-plus Sportsmanship Score; 2) Constructs a Sportsmanship Statement (input from athletes, coaches, community, etc.); 3) Announces the Sportsmanship Statement at all contests for which a PA system is available; 4) Coaches complete the Character-Driven Coaches Course developed by the NAIA; and 5) Athletics department provides the Champions of Character Video Series to students, parents and coaches.
“It’s a great honor, and it’s one that’s reflective of the whole athletic department,” North athletics director Jeff Hester said. “This is definitely an award that took everybody’s part from our athletes and coaches.”
Game draws big crowd
Hester estimated the crowd at Friday’s Columbus East at Columbus North football game at between 5,500 and 6,000 fans.
Hester also was expecting another large crowd when it hosted East in girls and boys soccer. But because of Saturday’s rainout and subsequent rescheduling of varsity-only games to Monday, only about 500 to 600 attended.
Soccer game rescheduled
Columbus North’s girls soccer game at Bloomington North, which was rained out last week, has been rescheduled for Sept. 12.
The junior varsity game is scheduled for 6 p.m., with the varsity to follow. However, if the Cougars do not have enough players to play a full JV game, the varsity will play first at 6 p.m., followed by a half of a JV game.
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at email@example.com or 812-379-5628.