THS squad runs during wee hours
Tonganoxie High might have been the first cross country team to begin practice for the fall season.
Fall sports officially started this week, with Monday being the first day teams could practice.
Chieftain harriers wasted no time. They had their first practice at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
This actually is the second year the team has gone to an early-as-possible practice time. The team, at the urging of then-juniors and seniors last year, started the tradition last fall.
"Some of the kids thought it would be cool to have a midnight madness thing, like KU basketball," THS coach Phil Williams said.
The team planned to run on the streets of Tonganoxie, but thunder and lightning forced the team indoors early Monday. Instead, team members ran the halls of the junior high.
"It wasn't as good of a practice as we would have liked, but it turned out pretty good," Williams said.
Williams said 36 runners attended the first practice. One runner was ill, and three others couldn't practice yet because they hadn't turned in proof of their required physical examinations.
That would push the team's numbers to 40 members --the largest in school history. The numbers break down to 24 boys and 16 girls.
The Tonganoxie coach he's never had that many girls come out for the sport in one season.
Williams, who is entering his 33rd year as the Chieftains coach, said he wasn't certain whether the team would continue its early-bird tradition.
"I know it's a hardship on parents who have to get up in the morning for kids who can't drive," Williams said. "If we're out on the streets, you can't see everybody and you hope everybody's where they're supposed to be and don't get hurt or anything."