Photo: Former Hokes Bluff cross counrty coach Roseanne Green (pictured facing camera) was recently named cross country head coach at Gadsden State. (Submitted photo)
Roseanne Green has a lot to offer as the new head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country teams at Gadsden State Community College, including a history of coaching, a love for the science of running and a large network of fellow coaches.
“There’s a big community of high school and college cross country coaches who are always willing to help each other,” she said. “We talk about shoes, paces, dealing with injuries, training runners following an injury; you name it. We talk about everything. I don’t think it’s that way in other sports. We are there for each other.”
Green has been involved in cross country coaching since 2017 when she was approached by track and field coaches at Hokes Bluff High School.
“They told me they were wanting to restart the cross country team and wanted me to coach it,” said Green, who developed a life-long love of running at Cherokee County High School. “I agreed to coach. I knew it would be a big undertaking. Hokes Bluff had not had a team since the 1980s.”
During her first year in 2017, the boys team finished second among teams at the Etowah County Schools cross country meet, with two members being named to the All-Etowah County cross country team, including her son Sam, who now is a member of the Jacksonville State cross country team.
In 2018, the boys team again took runner-up honors, with three making the all-county team and one – Sam Green – earning a wildcard to compete at the Class 4A state meet. The Eagles again finished second place at the county in 2019, with two members earning all-county honors and qualified to compete on the state level. Sam Green finished in the Top 10 at the sectional competition, while a member of the girls’ team earned a wildcard to compete at state.
Green’s final year at Hokes Bluff High in 2020 ended with a second-place finish at the county championships. The Eagles qualified for the Class 3A state competition, with Sam Green medaling in the Top 15. Two female runners qualified to compete at state as well.
A chemistry specialist at JSU for Science in Motion, Green is most interested in the science involved in running cross country, which will be beneficial to Gadsden State’s runners. Gadsden State discontinued its women’s cross country program following the 2011 season.
“There’s a science behind pacing and oxygen consumption,” she said. “Consistent running improves the body’s natural ability to circulate oxygenated blood. I’m always looking into the science of running, which makes me a good coach and allows me to help individual runners grow.”
Green has been excited to witness the popularity of cross country competition grow on a local and state level and plans to use the growing interest in running to her advantage.
“More and more high school students are competing on cross country teams,” she said. “Restarting the Gadsden State program opens a new avenue for those runners who are excellent athletes but who have not achieved the paces to move onto a four-year university.”
Green started recruiting runners almost immediately to find those students interested in continuing their cross country careers and education at Gadsden State.
“Some of them just need some nurturing and additional coaching to improve their times,” she said. “I’ve known so many kids who wanted to keep running (after high school) but didn’t. Gadsden State is now giving them an opportunity to keep running.”
Green attended a national race in Huntsville in December to scout potential Gadsden State runners. She will continue scouting runners through the upcoming indoor and outdoor track seasons.
“I’m also looking for current high school students who are within driving distance of Gadsden State and who have pace times that will make our team competitive,” she said. “They’re deserving; they’ve worked hard. Now, they can keep working hard and potentially go onto a four-year university after running two years with Gadsden State.”
Green said she hopes to have a roster set by April. She will then order gear, plan summer workouts for individual runners and get ready to start team practices in August. Gadsden State will open its competitive season on Labor Day weekend, most likely at a race in Oxford.
“We have a lot to do between now and then but I’m excited about all of it,” she said.
Gadsden State has six scholarships for members of the men’s team and six scholarships for the women’s team. Scholarships cover 15 hours per semester as well as required textbooks.
“I’m so excited about the Gadsden State program coming back,” she said. “This gives so many runners the opportunity to continue to run on a collegiate team as they continue their education.”
Although she is not sure if it will be ready for the Cardinals’ inaugural 2022 season, Green noted that a cross country course is part of the City of Gadsden’s Phase I of the Gadsden Sport Park to be located behind the campus buildings next to the Coosa River. According to a previous press release, the project is a long-term partnership between the City and Gadsden State to expand existing sports facilities adjacent to the college’s campus and provide new recreation opportunities for all of Gadsden and Etowah County.
“The city engineers have already mapped the course, as I understand it,” she said. “I would love to have a home course for the fall, but I just don’t know at this point. But at least we’d have a home practice facility even if it won’t be ready for competitive running. Not to mention the fact that all the local schools will have a place to host the county [cross country] meet.”
Gadsden State Athletic Director Mike Cancilla is excited to have Green at Gadsden State.
“Coach Green’s experience and philosophy toward the sport is going to keep area athletes engaged and wanting to attend Gadsden State,” he said. “What sold me on her were the ringing endorsements of cross country runners and their parents who have worked with her in the past. They could not say enough great things about her.”
Chris McCarthy contributed to this article