Gadsden, Ala. — Gadsden State Community College Cross Country Coach Jim Pitchford is continuing his long standing practice of having teams which are competitive in races and outstanding in the classroom. Pitchford said that may be due to the nature of the sport and its similarities to the classroom, explaining, “To excel in cross country, just like the classroom, requires both self-discipline and perseverance. We have been very fortunate throughout the years to have players with these character traits.”
The 2007 squad was 12th in the nation with a 3.389 GPA with three being named Academic All-Americans. The 2008 squad compiled an average GPA of 3.423, which ranks them 10th among the members of the National Junior College Athletic Association. Five players from this year’s team were named to the NJCAA Coaches Academic All-American team—Kaci Blackstone of Glencoe, Lauren Holt of Rainbow City, Leigha Blake of Cedar Bluff, and Sarah Burke and Jessie Phillips, both of Anniston. The team also excelled in athletic competitions and competed at the national tournament in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Blackstone and Holt are graduating this spring but Blake, Burke and Phillips will return next year. Coach Pitchford is actively recruiting for next season.