A new sports program may be available to Williams high school and middle school students this fall - cross-country.
The Williams Unified School District (WUSD) Governing Board discussed the option at its July 10 meeting.
WUSD Superintendent Rachel Savage said district officials have been looking for an addition to the other fall sports they offer.
"We have an entire population of students who may not be interested in the full-contact football or the volleyball, which is also an aggressive sport," she said.
Savage added that cross-country would have a low startup cost, since the sport does not require any equipment.
"We have the uniforms, and they just need tennis shoes and that's it," she said.
Savage said when the district conducted a poll last fall, several students expressed interest in a cross-country program. If not enough students are interested this year, Savage said she would like to start the program as an intramural sport and then try to start a formal program the next year.
Board Member Herman Nixon said he didn't think finding enough students would be a problem.
"I think there are a lot of our students who would excel in this type of sport," he said.
Dan Ayub, who teaches foreign languages at the high school, used to coach Williams' cross-country team about 10 years ago.
Ayub said at that time cross-country was a good option for students who may have preferred an individual sport to a team sport.
"And not only that, it also benefited those basketball players and baseball and softball players that did not do volleyball or football, and they would have an off-season running program," he said.
According to Ayub, the cross-country courses range from 2.9 to 3.2 miles. The team could practice on the sidewalks around town, at local parks, and possibly at Elephant Rocks Golf Course.
Schools need six runners to compete as a full team. However, Ayub said students from nearby schools without a cross-country program could also compete on the team.
If the district poll indicates enough students are interested in joining the cross-country team, the governing board will approve the hiring of a coach at a future board meeting.
In other governing board news, members unanimously approved the fiscal year 2014 expenditure budget. Board member Thomas Ross was absent. No one attended the budget hearing meeting prior to the regular board meeting.
The governing board approved the proposed budget at its June 26 meeting. The only change since that meeting was removing the Adjacent Ways money from the budget.
At the June 26 meeting, board members declined the option of using Adjacent Ways money to pay for a sidewalk from the Coconino Community College building to the high school. This option would have raised property taxes about $30 annually per household to cover the cost of the sidewalk, which is expected to cost between $15,000 and $17,000.
Instead, board members suggested using forest fees to pay for the sidewalk.