When he took over as the Beechcroft High School boys basketball coach last June, Scott Davis asked about the possibility of starting a cross country program.

When he took over as the Beechcroft High School boys basketball coach last June, Scott Davis asked about the possibility of starting a cross country program.

Told that the Cougars hadn't had a team in several years, he almost immediately began formulating a plan regarding how he might get one started.

Two months later, Beechcroft has nearly a dozen runners -- seven boys who have shown consistent interest as well as a couple other boys and four girls who have inquired about running -- who will comprise a team.

Davis spent three years coaching the sport at Delaware, where he also was the distance coach for the track and field team the last seven years.

With the desire to increase the fitness of his basketball players, heading a cross country team is a natural fit for the 1991 Pickerington graduate who also previously was the basketball coach at Jonathan Alder before serving the last two years as an assistant at Otterbein.

Beechcroft was expected to run in the open race last Saturday at the Pickerington North Invitational for its first meet.

"I've coached cross country in the past, so this is not something that's new for me," Davis said. "It was something I asked about when I got the basketball job, and I think they were excited that I wanted to do it. Seven of the kids who play basketball have expressed an interest in running, we've got a couple kids who might do football and cross country and we've been trying to get some girls as well. It's a nice mix of kids."

Davis' first team will feature some of the school's top basketball players, including senior Josh Gouch and junior Mike Petrie, both of whom were regulars last winter as the Cougars went 14-7.

The other senior is Marquon Hoston. Joining Petrie in the junior class are Andrew Devlin, Jordan Dunbar and Josh Jones. Gouch's brother, sophomore Tim, also is on the team.

Davis still wasn't sure heading into the opener which girls would be running in meets.

"We're just starting it up, and the numbers for the boys and girls teams are continuing to grow," Davis said. "We're just building a base, trying to accumulate some mileage. I'm not real concerned about how fast we're going. As soon as we get that base built up, we'll work on getting faster."

It's been a difficult two seasons for the girls volleyball team.

After winning two matches in 2006 the Cougars went 2-10 overall and 1-6 in the City League-North Division and lost to top-seeded Bexley 25-7, 25-21, 25-2 in the second round of the Division II district tournament last season.

Beechcroft, which lost eight graduates, again has a large group of seniors as it looks for more victories under fourth-year coach Rita Hinz.

"We had six seniors graduate who had played all four years," Hinz said. "So it's been a busy year so far with a lot of new girls."

Junior Miyoshi McGee and sophomores TaRonna Neal and Ashlyn Shaw are the top returnees. Although Hinz still was working on a lineup heading into the opener last Tuesday at Eastmoor, Neal was a middle hitter, Shaw played at outside hitter and McGee was a defensive specialist last year.

Comprising the senior class are Tiana Daniel, Ashle Hobbs, Ashli Parker, Aja Reed, Breonna Sowell, Magdalyn Teltevi, Adrionna Tucker and Jasmyne Wilkins. Sophomore Talia Sowell, who is Breonna's sister, also is on the team.

Parker and Wilkins are expected to be the setters.

Beechcroft opens City-North play Sept. 16 at Northland.

"They're a good group of girls in that they're helpful to each other," Hinz said. "Our team goals are to have a better offense and better stamina. They kind of ran out of steam at times last year."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Beechcroft boys and girls cross country, football, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Last Saturday -- Competed in open races at Pickerington Classic

Saturday -- At Westerville Classic at Westerville North

FOOTBALL

Last Friday -- Defeated Whitehall 42-0 in opener. Wallace Hale and B.J. Watkins both had seven rushes for 67 yards and one touchdown, Larez Harper returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown and Austin Carter scored on a 54-yard pass from Joe Simpson.

Friday -- At Teays Valley. Last season, Beechcroft lost 26-14.

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 21 -- Def. Walnut Ridge 6-1 in opener. Abdullah Mulatawfiq had three goals and Muhammed Sidibeh had two.

Last Tuesday -- Played Independence

Tuesday -- Home vs. Briggs. Last year, Beechcroft won 5-2.

GIRLS SOCCER

Last Tuesday -- Played Tree of Life

Today -- At Walnut Ridge

Tuesday -- Home vs. Briggs. Beechcroft lost 1-0 a year ago.

TENNIS

Aug. 21 -- Lost to Eastmoor 3-2

Last Monday -- Lost to Chillicothe 5-0

*Today -- Home vs. Northland

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Whetstone. Beechcroft lost 5-0 last year.

VOLLEYBALL

Last Tuesday -- Played Eastmoor. Last season, Beechcroft lost 25-17, 25-13, 25-8.

Last Wednesday -- Played Franklin Academy

Today -- At Walnut Ridge. Beechcroft won 25-12, 25-14, 25-15 last year.

Tuesday -- At Briggs

*City-North contest