The high school cross country team has used the course for practice.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
LIBERTY -- Vision and hard work of a student here has given the high school a new cross country practice course and may help him reach the Eagle Scout level in the Boy Scouts of America.
Evan Coombs, 16, now a junior at Liberty High School, has been involved in cross country running since junior high and a member of the Boy Scouts for the past seven years. His love of running and love for the Scouts to come together when Coombs started thinking about a project to boost him to the level of Eagle.
He remembered that the township had no trails dedicated to cross country running.
"I've been running cross country for four years. Cross country is a sport where you don't run on a predictable course, you run on anything. As early as eighth grade I realized that we really didn't have anything to resemble a cross country course, and I thought this would be a good idea," he said.
In his mind
The thought of creating a cross country course stayed tucked away in the back of Coombs' mind until a Relay for Life event held at the high school earlier this year. Coombs said it was there that he noticed the opening to a skinny, short path with overgrown shrubbery leading into the woods not far from the football field.
Coombs later walked through the wooded area with a coach from the cross-country team. He noticed the remnants of a path, uneven terrain and a stream that would require that a bridge be built for crossing.
"I figured if there was going to be a place to do this, I wouldn't do much better than this," Coombs said.
Coombs started planning the path and work needed to create the bridge in June. He submitted the project plans to the Boy Scouts committee in charge of approving Eagle Scout projects twice before it was accepted.
After receiving the nod of approval from the Scouts, Coombs received donations from the track and cross country alumni, the boosters, the Parent Teacher Association and was given 200 from the principal's discretionary fund. Rogers Lumber of Niles donated all the needed lumber to build the bridge.
Coombs, along with members of the cross country team and Scouts, spent several hours each day working on the path. After more than 168 man-hours, the path had been cleared, roping put in place and a 16-feet-by-4-feet bridge installed.
Perfect for training
Coombs said the path is about 19,000 feet long, making it too short for an actual cross country meet, but perfect for training purposes. He said someone else interested in a project could come along in the future and extend the path to the roughly three miles needed for it to be used in actual meets.
The Liberty cross country team has used the path for practice on several occasions.
Coombs is hoping to receive his Eagle Scout designation sometime in November. He is the son of Atty. Frederick and Janice Coombs.