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Green takes helm of the new cross country program at Gadsden State

Gadsden, Ala. — Roseanne Green has a lot to offer as the new head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country teams at Gadsden State Community College, including a history of coaching, a love for the science of running and a large network of fellow coaches.

“There’s a big community of high school and college cross country coaches who are always willing to help each other,” she said. “We talk about shoes, paces, dealing with injuries, training runners following an injury; you name it. We talk about everything. I don’t think it’s that way in other sports. We are there for each other.”

Roseanne Green,  head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country teams at Gadsden State Community College

Mike Cancilla, Gadsden State’s athletic director, announced Green’s appointment in late-November.

“We are excited to have Coach Green at Gadsden State,” he said. “Her experience and philosophy toward the sport is going to keep area athletes engaged and wanting to attend Gadsden State. What sold me on her were the ringing endorsements of cross country runners and their parents who have worked with her in the past. They could not say enough great things about her.”

Green has been involved in cross country coaching since 2017 when she was approached by track and field coaches at Hokes Bluff High School.

“They told me they were wanting to restart the cross country team and that they wanted me to coach it,” said Green, who developed a life-long love of running at Cherokee County High School. “I agreed to coach. I knew it would be a big undertaking. Hokes Bluff had not had a team since the 1980s.”

During her first year as the HBHS coach, the boys team ranked second among teams in Etowah County with two members being named to the All-Etowah County Cross Country Team, including her son Sam Green, who now is a member of the Jacksonville State University Cross Country Team.

In 2018, the boys team again took second-place honors with three making the all-county team and one earning a wildcard to compete at the Class 4A State Championship.

In 2019, the boys team earned more accolades, including second place at the Etowah County Cross County Championship. Two members earned all-county honors and qualified to compete on the state level. One team member finished in the Top 10 at the sectional competition with a girls team member earning a wildcard to compete.

Green’s final year at Hokes Bluff High ended with another second-place finish at the county championships. The team also qualified for the Class 3A state competition with one medaling in the Top 15. Two female runners qualified to compete at state as well.

A chemistry specialist at JSU for Science in Motion, Green is most interested in the science involved in running cross country, which will be beneficial to Gadsden State’s runners.

“There’s a science behind pacing and oxygen consumption,” she said. “Consistent running improves the body’s natural ability to circulate oxygenated blood. I’m always looking into the science of running, which makes me a good coach and allows me to help individual runners grow.”

Green said she has been excited to witness the popularity of cross country competition grow on a local and state level, and she plans to use the growing interest in running to her advantage.

“More and more high school students are competing on cross country teams,” she said. “Restarting the Gadsden State program opens a new avenue for those runners who are excellent athletes but who have not achieved the paces to move onto a four-year university.”

Green started recruiting runners almost immediately to find those students interested in continuing their cross country careers as well as their education at Gadsden State.

“Some of them just need some nurturing and additional coaching to improve their times,” she said. “I’ve known so many kids who wanted to keep running (after high school) but didn’t. Gadsden State is now giving them an opportunity to keep running.”

In December, she went to a national race in Huntsville to scout potential Gadsden State runners. She will continue scouting runners through the upcoming indoor and outdoor track seasons.

“I’m also looking for current high school students who are within driving distance of Gadsden State and who have pace times that will make our team competitive,” she said. “They’re deserving; they’ve worked hard. Now, they can keep working hard and potentially go onto a four-year university after running two years with Gadsden State.”

Green said she hopes to have a roster set by April. She will then order gear, plan summer workouts for individual runners and get ready to start team practices in August. The Gadsden State Cross Country Team will open its competitive season on Labor Day Weekend, most likely at a race in Oxford.

“We have a lot to do between now and then but I’m excited about all of it,” she said.

Gadsden State has six scholarships for members of the men’s team and six scholarships for the women’s team. Scholarships cover 15 hours per semester as well as required textbooks.

“I am so excited about the Gadsden State program coming back,” she said. “This gives so many runners the opportunity to continue to run on a collegiate team as they continue their education.”