Ready for the races

Patricia EllisonSullivan┬áDuring July, it’s hard to get kids, or adults either, to think about school, but it’s coming soon.

And along with the start of a new academic year comes the start of a new sports year with cross country one of the first on the schedule for fall.
The Houston High School cross country team was originated in the fall of 2006 under the direction of John Ellison, now principal at Houston Upper Elementary School, and is firmly established as an annual fall sport.
This year’s team will be under the leadership of Tracy Sullivan and Patricia Ellison, both instructors in the Houston district. Sullivan came on board last season as an assistant and stayed with the program for another year and Ellison is new to cross country, but not to kids or sports.
“This will be my second year,” Sullivan said. “I love being with the kids because most of them work really hard.”
Sullivan said there are some who come out to join friends on the team, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“They try and they are getting exercise,” Sullivan said. “I’m a little more familiar with cross country this year. The runners are the best and fun to be around.”
Sullivan credited Donna Griffin and Quana Ivy for a team coaching effort last season after coach Esther Earnest was sidelined with health issues.
“Couldn’t have done it without Donna and Quana,” Sullivan said.
Ellison joins in for her debut season with cross country and brings a sports background with her.
“In high school I played basketball, ran track and played softball,” Ellison said. “We didn’t have cross country.”
Ellison has also coached basketball, softball and track during her nine-year career in education. She is in her second year of teaching in Houston.
“I am a sports fanatic,” Ellison said. “I am interested in cross country because it is a sport in which I can coach and help kids to maintain discipline that will lead towards a healthy lifestyle.”
Cross country practice will begin the first week of school and competitive meets start in September. The season runs through November and concludes with the State meet. The Houston cross country team finished the season with over 40 team members.