Kent State Trumbull to launch cross country team

William Kovach

For 25 years, the students of Kent State’s Trumbull campus have been without a formal athletic program. Now, Trumbull dean and chief administration officer Lance Grahn announced the campus will launch a cross country team during fall 2017.

“We wanted to take advantage of things that made sense in Mahoning Valley,” Grahn said. “Like cross country, which is well-established in this area.”

The team will start out as a club sport, but Grahn said he hopes by fall of 2018, cross country can become an official sport and the campus’ first intercollegiate sport.  

The practices and meets will be held at the Trumbull campus, Grahn said. The campus, which used to host high school cross country meets, is already equipped for the new sport.

Bill Hess is spearheading the team. Hess coached middle school and high school track and cross-country for the last 15 years at Niles City Schools. Prior to that, he ran and coached as a part of the Youngstown State University track and cross country program.

“Every time I go by that campus, I thought there should be a cross country program,” he said. “I thought, maybe it could be a club sport, then head into an intercollegiate sport … this area is rich in the running tradition.”

Trumbull marketing coordinator Bill Burgess said the club still has a way to go.

“We kind of followed the model that Kent State Tuscarawas set-up,” Burgess said. “We just wanted to start with (cross country) and go from there.”

Even in monetary terms, starting back up the cross country team was an obvious choice, Burgess said.

“We already had a certified cross country course on campus here,” Burgess said. “Coach Hess already had knowledge of this, and we could use that because it’s not going to cost a whole lot of money to start a program like that.”

Their ambitions do not stop at cross country, however, as Grahn said they aspire to also implement bowling, golf, archery and rifle sports in the future.

The new cross country organization will be open to any Kent State student who wishes to participate.

William Kovach is a sports reporter, contact him at [email protected].