Beallsville to start a cross country team

BEALLSVILLE — Delmas Moore is one happy camper these days.

The Beallsville High School Athletics Director simply can’t stop smiling.

“There are a lot of good things happening down here right now,” Moore said. “We’re very upbeat.”

Just last month, the Switzerland of Ohio School District pledged $1.2 million to the Blue Devils athletic department to use toward the construction of a field house at the football field and also a new baseball and softball field at the high school.

“The design work on the fields is pretty much done,” Moore said. “The baseball field will be on the north end of the school site and the softball field on the south end.”

Looking past the infrastructure improvements, Beallsville is adding a new sport, which means 12 additional students will get an opportunity to participate.

For the first time in school history, Beallsville will sponsor a cross country team this fall. Gloria Diehl, who is the girls’ track coach in the spring, is the head coach of the eight-member girls team and four-member boys’ squad.

“There were some kids who expressed an interest last spring and our track coaches have done a good job of getting people involved,” Moore said.

After hearing just how many wanted to sign up and taking into consideration the elimination of ‘pay to participate’ and each athletic department in the district having to foot its own transportation bill, Moore and — more importantly — the Switzerland Board of Education approved the creation of the team.

“It’s really a no brainer,” Moore said. “It’s a sport that doesn’t have a lot of expense other than entry fees for the meets. Anytime we can get more kids involved with activities, it’s a great thing.”

The Blue Devils have a 10-meet schedule and will participate in the OVAC as well as the OHSAA postseason. Though they made the decision too late to join the Ohio Valley Cross Country League for this season, Moore hopes to be in that for the 2018 campaign. They’ll also compete in the Belmont County Championship meet, which is held at Union Local.

Though it’s not formally approved yet, Moore indicated the school is giving a hard look to adding a bowling program for the 2017-18 campaign. On top of that, though it’s not an OHSAA sport, Beallsville is also starting an archery program.

“Things are definitely on the upswing,” Moore said.