Middle school runners in 8th grade are encouraged to train and race with the East Coweta High School Cross Country team. there are a few differences in how 8th graders are allowed to compete:
- Can participate in meets bu cannot run on the Varsity team. JV Team or open races only.
- Can participate in a maximum of 5 meets per season.
Running as an 8th grader does not impact the eligibility of a runner after entering High School, so there is no drawback to starting early. Most runners see the biggest gains between their firs and second years, so 8th grade runners have an advantage over other runners their age by starting earlier. Some meets also have a race for Middle Schoolers only, which allows them to compete against runners that are their same age.
Logistically, training with the team as an 8th grader is just a matter of getting to-and-from practices. Practices are always held at ECHS. There are buses that run between Middle Schools and ECHS daily, so 8th grader that train in the morning can hop the bus that will take them to their middle school. For afternoon practices, the 8th grader will find the bus that goes to the high school after middle school is out.
The minimum number of practices required to compete with the team is relaxed for 8th graders. The goal with 8th graders is to get them started on a training program and to be integrated with the team, so they are only required to be at one practice per week to maintain eligibility to run in weekend meets.