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Belgreen High runner signs with Calhoun XC

Belgreen High School’s Kimberly Luna said she never thought she would run cross country again after her final race as a Lady Bulldog.

To her surprise and delight, she was wrong.

The 2021 BHS grad recently signed to join Calhoun Community College’s fledgling cross-country team, making the commitment at a signing ceremony joined by her parents, coach and other supporters.

“I feel like running for Calhoun would be a great opportunity to meet new people, and it will help me start my college career,” said Luna. “I was excited when I found out I had another chance to run again. I am excited to start the season at Calhoun.”

Luna will join the team in its first season at Calhoun Community College. The program is led by Coach Tiffany Bain.

“A good team has been put together with the limited time that was available,” said Bain. “I was not hired on as the coach until April.”

Calhoun announced the new team on its website in January, with interim president Dr. Joe Burke sharing the details of the new co-ed program for Calhoun athletes.

“It is an exciting time for Calhoun Athletics,” said Burke in the online announcement. “This new addition will not only increase our extra-curricular offerings to our students, but it also provides us with the opportunity to expand student athlete enrollment.”

The Calhoun Athletics Department announced an intention to award a total of 10 scholarships for the men’s team and 10 for the women’s team, to cover books, tuition and fees.

“The students will train on Calhoun’s Decatur campus as well as local established parks,” explained Dr. Nancy Keenum, Calhoun Athletics Director.

Luna is part of the team of eight men and eight women, at present, Bain said.

“Kimberly was selected for a couple of reasons,” Bain explained. “She demonstrates great potential and has already proven to have a great work ethic and dependability, and I think it’s important to serve our service our area and north Alabama.”

Luna said she has been running cross country since the ninth grade. “The first sport I did was track. I was in eighth grade, which was my first year at Belgreen. When I was in middle school, I liked running during PE; this is what made me want to run when I moved to Belgreen.”

She said she saw cross country as “a way for me to be more active” and “a good way for me to get out and be more myself.” 

“I enjoy running because it distracts me from stuff. It also makes me feel healthier,” Luna said.

In her junior year Luna made it sectional where she qualified for state competition. At state she logged a personal record, 23:34.

The Lady Bulldog said while she will miss her friends and teachers at Belgreen, she is excited to be part of the new Calhoun cross country team and to embrace her college coursework. “I have still not decided on a major, but I do plan on transferring to UNA after Calhoun.” 

The cross-country season is scheduled to begin in September. Luna and her fellow Warhawk runners will compete against various opponents within the Alabama Community College Conference, the National Junior College Athletic Association, the National College Athletic Association and the National Athletic International Association.

“We are considered DII, so we will compete against schools in this division,” Bain said.

Luna said she looks forward to running for Bain – “I know she will be great coach. She has experience in running, so I know she will get us well prepared for our races” – and she appreciates the support of her parents, who have been behind her throughout her running career.