Gadsden State to add cross country team to Athletics Department
Gadsden, Ala. – Gadsden State Community College President Kathy Murphy has announced the addition of cross country to its athletics program beginning in the 2022-23 academic year.
“We have chosen to reinstate the cross country program to create additional scholarship opportunities for our student athletes, enhance student engagement and promote collegiate life,” she said.
Gadsden State ended its cross country program following the Fall 2011 season. Mike Cancilla, athletics director, said he is excited about adding cross country to the College’s sports line-up, which includes men’s tennis and basketball teams as well as women’s volleyball and basketball teams.
“Previously, our cross country team was comprised of female runners only,” he said. “The new program will include both a cross country team for men and a cross country team for women. It’s a great opportunity to bring more student athletes to Gadsden State.”
Cancilla said a job posting for the new cross country coach, who will coach both the men’s and women’s teams, will be distributed in November.
“We hope that the coach will be able to start working in January 2022 on recruiting and building the roster,” he said. “They can also spend time building schedules and ordering equipment. They will be more than ready to start the season in the fall.”
Scholarships will be available to select cross country runners.
“There are a lot of great cross country athletes in our area but there are not a lot of opportunities,” Cancilla said. “Our program will give those athletes the chance to continue running after high school at the collegiate level with a possible scholarship.”
Gadsden State will become one of five Alabama community colleges to have both men’s and women’s cross country teams. Other teams include Marion Military Institute, Wallace State Community College, Jefferson State Community College and Calhoun Community College.
“Our cross country teams will have to travel to compete,” he said. “It will typically be daytrips to compete against other community colleges. We will also attend meets hosted by four-year universities, which will give our runners exposure to recruiters from universities. They could potentially earn another scholarship and continue their running careers after competing at Gadsden State.”
Cancilla said the reinstatement of cross country at Gadsden State is great news for student athletes and the college in general.
“We are adding another fall sport at Gadsden State; a sport that puts us in a completely different arena than volleyball and basketball,” he said. “We will be reaching athletes who may not have considered Gadsden State but they will now since they have an opportunity to be on our cross country team. I’m very excited about what’s in store for the Gadsden State Cardinals!”