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Running club asking to be a LPS sanctioned sport

LAWTON, Okla._While middle school cross country is not an official sport in Lawton Public Schools, a group of middle schoolers are running to prove that it can be. They do have track in the spring at Central Middle School, but these students want to run and train all year. That's where the Central Cougars Running Club comes in. An hour before the first class starts, and before their peers have even thought about waking up, the central cougar running club is already here warming up for a morning run.

Central Middle School 8th grader Joseph Pondillo says he likes to watch his team’s progress.

"I like how you have to push yourself to do stuff, and how it's a team effort,” said Pondillo.

They come out to run and train with their coach and 7th grade geography teacher Deanice Shegog and a volunteer soldier from fort sill... Today it's First Sergeant Chad Kaltved.

"Some of these kids run faster than some of my soldiers so it's pretty neat," said Kaltved.

Last year Shegog asked for cross country to become a sanctioned sport in middle schools. After the answer was no, she started the club. She says she is grateful for the parent's support and is happy to pay for the kid's competitions, but now it's the students who want to do more.

After the Devil Dog 5K run, the club sat down and wrote a letter to LPS. They asked them to add cross country to the list of middle school sports.

“Dear LPS Board of Education, We would like to prove our point on why we believe Cross Country should be a sanctioned sport. Mrs. Shegog has helped us for the past two months training morning and afternoon spending her time and money to get what is needed for our practices and our meets."

A statement from LPS Athletic Director Mike Moore saying he likes the running club idea in promoting active and healthy lifestyles, but the declining interest over the years and the lack of funds does not allow the district to add another sport at the middle schools.

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