William and Mary hosted the 52nd Annual William and Mary High School
Cross Country Invitational last weekend. Head Coach Stephen Walsh organized and put on the event. Flat Hat Staff Writer Neal Chhabra caught up with Walsh to ask him about his first time hosting the event.
Stephen Walsh, the College of William and Mary’s Cross Country and Track coach, took over the cross country program a month before the 52nd Annual William & Mary High School Cross Country Invitational Saturday at Eastern State Hospital, giving him a short amount of time to set up the race.
“I think the meet went great. I think it’s a great thing to have,” Walsh said. “We have 1200-1500 kids come every year so I think its great for the college, great for the university. The biggest challenge was organizing it and setting it up and still coaching the kids. The weather cooperated so we were able to be on the course every day getting it cut and getting it lined, so it worked out well.”
The race brings together schools from all over the state and region, giving the coaching staff a chance to find new talent and gives runners a taste of the College.
“They get to see our home course and campus,” Walsh said. “There were a lot of kids that came and were interested in us. There were a couple of people who we were looking at and interested in. [The race] helps because its hard to go out and see people run because their meets are usually the same time ours are so having our own meet helps us see them.”
With a new coach in place, a few changes were bound to occur to the event.
“A lot of coaches came to me and said they liked the course,” Walsh said. “They liked the set up of the course because we changed it a little bit, making it more spectator friendly with the two gate-loops, they got to see the kids more often, especially parents who usually have their kids run off into woods at most races.”
With the meet behind him, Walsh can now concentrate in preparing the team for its first home meet, the Colonial Inter-Regional Challenge, which will be held Saturday at
Eastern Shore Hospital.
“I’ve been coach for a month plus now,” Walsh said. “I’m really getting a handle on the kids. We’re really moving forward. I think they’ve really bought into what we’re doing. We have our first home meet this weekend, its small, but we’ll see how we do and go from there.”