Saladins take over Reed City cross country program

REED CITY — Susan Saladin and her husband, Rich, have taken over the duties of coaching Reed City’s cross country team.

She’s a middle school history teacher and he is an at-home dad. They both have a huge interest in the cross country program.

“I’ve been running for 10 years now and it’s something we’ve always had an interest in doing,” Rich said. “Susan is a teacher here and has a strong interest in the students. We saw the opening and said maybe it’s something we can do and accomplish some good things.”

They take over for Brad Smith, who stepped down from the position.

“He lives two houses down from us and will still be a great resources, and will volunteer and help out with the program,” Rich said.

Practices will officially start in mid-August and the first meet is Aug. 23 at Chippewa Hills.

“Right now, we’re doing some Tuesday and Thursday workouts and trying to get the kids in shape and in a running routine,” Rich said. “Practices don’t start until Aug. 10 but this is something for them to learn some skills and stay in shape.”

Saladin is from Reed City where he played football, but is focusing right now on cross country with his wife, who is from Detroit.

“It’s at will, they come and it’s a volunteer workout,” Saladin said. “We’ve had six different kids come so far, different kids on different days. We’re starting to develop some consistency. This is open to anyone learning how to run and get in shape.”

They will continue the unofficial Tuesday and Thursday morning runs until practices start. There will be no running at the end of the month when Reed City observes the MHSAA’s mandated dead week. 

Reed City has had challenges trying to field full boys and girls teams in past years.

“We keep telling the kids to recruit their friends to come,” Saladin said. “We use Facebook as a tool to shout out to our friends in that community that we’re coaching and we’d like to have their kids run if they’re interested. The school is willing to have dual sport athletes. I know we have one kid who is planning on playing soccer and will be running with us. There’s some opportunities there.

“Our goal is a full team, seven girls and seven boys, and go from there. The goal for each kid is to improve from day one. When we start on Aug. 10, we’ll see where they are.”

The Saladins hope to get a running course developed on school grounds in the future and work with other areas, such as Eagle Boys Village.

Among the runners who have been at the workouts is junior Catherine Kettner. She ran middle school cross country and is in her third season of high school.

“I’m excited for this year, we should have more kids,” she said. “I just got out of track, I’m in this and I’ll start running on my own and on Saturdays.”

Kettner  ran the 800 and 1,600 in track.

“I kind of had an off season in track so I’m hoping my cross country season is better,” she said.