By Bill Choy

Triplicate Sports Editor

On a recent warm, sunny afternoon, the Del Norte High Cross Country team returned to the school after a strenuous, off-campus running regime.

Carefully watching the team was head coach Kirk Burrows, who returns after a two-year absence.

He coached the cross country team for 15 years, but during his brief hiatus was a coach for the Warrior varsity football team.

andquot;I've enjoyed my time with football, but cross country is my niche,andquot; Burrows said. andquot;It's a different type of sport. It's a personal sport. You have to be disciplinedandquot;

An avid runner, Burrows ran cross country while a student at the University of Kansas. Now he coaches a squad of eight boys and three girls, who will have their first meet at Eureka at 4 p.m. Sept. 18. Each meet consists of a 5,000 meter, or 3.1 mile, run.

Since Burrows returned, he said he is still assessing the team and it's still too early to say how he believes they will fare this year. But Burrows said the team seems committed to the sport and has been running hard, and with a few meets under the squads belt, Burrows said he should have a better idea.

Senior Jesse Cipolla is excited to be a member of the cross country team and said he enjoys competing in the sport.

andquot;It keeps me in shape and it's probably one of the least costly forms of travel,andquot; he said.

Cipolla is also a member of the Wild Rivers Multi Sports group and recently took part in the 23rd annual Crescent City Triathlon, finishing second overall. He was only 6:34 minutes behind first place finisher Mike Pigg, a retired pro triathlete.

This year, Cipolla hopes to earn a Big 5 Conference White Star and make it to the North Coast Section Championships.

Cipolla said he enjoys being around his fellow team members, who he said are quite encouraging and help to push each other.

andquot;They're the type of people you would want to go on a road trip with,andquot; he said.

Burrows hopes to show his squad the importance of staying in shape and living a healthy lifestyle, and that they will continue to be be fit and healthy throughout their lives.

andquot;I hope that when they are my age they are still running,andquot; Burrows said.