Wilmington High filled its vacant cross country coaching vacancy.
Bradi Rhoades, a 2000 Waynesburg Central High graduate, was hired by the school district this week by a 9-0 vote.
Rhoades takes over for Mary Beth Acker, who resigned in June.
“It’s very exciting,” Rhoades said. “I’ve watched coach Acker build the program.
“It was fun to keep in contact with her and watch the kids do well. I’m excited for the challenge.”
Rhoades ran cross country in high school before attending Slippery Rock University. He competed in track and field at Slippery Rock, but not cross country. This is Rhoades’ first stint as a cross country head coach.
“My specialty is more in the sprinting at the end of a race and how to start a race,” Rhoades said.
Rhoades also is going into his 13th season in coaching with the Westminster College track and field program. He is an assistant coach, working with the pole vaulters. Rhoades said he also coached the jumping events in his first three years with the Titans.
“I’ve been running programs and I’ve coached things outside of cross country,” Rhoades said. “Running a program is not a problem at all.
“Getting to know the kids and their durability throughout the season is the tricky part. That’s something we will have to make quick work of.”
In addition, Rhoades is entering his sixth year as technology coach at Wilmington High.
“I work at Wilmington, I know all of the athletes,” Rhoades said. “That’s kind of nice. I have that learning curve.
“The great thing is I get to see everyone in the district. It’s familiar faces, but a little bit different role.”
Rhoades noted he will have big shoes to fill with Acker’s departure.
“With the challenge comes a lot of responsibility,” Rhoades said. “I have to make sure we don’t take any steps backward. There’s a lot of work ahead us, but we’ll find a way to get it done.”
Among the talent Rhoades will be working with is Grace Mason, who will be a senior in the fall. Last year, Mason won the District 10, Class 1A championship and helped propel her squad to the team championship as well. Mason also claimed a silver medal with her second-place effort in the PIAA Class 1A Cross Country Championships.