ZCHS cross country senior signs with ESCC

Published 3:52 pm Monday, March 13, 2023

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For the first time in school history, a Zion Chapel High School cross country runner signed a college scholarship as senior Cole Charles signed with Enterprise State Community College on March 13.

Charles, who competed at the state meet along with his teammates this season, will get to continue his cross country career at the college level despite his senior season being his first in the sport. Cole said that after tying out for baseball as a junior, a teacher suggested he give cross country a shot.

“I thought it would be one and done for me,” Charles said of deciding to try cross country. “I never thought I would be here. I thought there was no way I could do it, it seemed pretty hard. It was pretty hard but I didn’t expect to feel so good after practices and races. I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much.”

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Cross Country Coach Courtney Jinright pointed to Charles’ attitude as being key to his success in such little time.

“This is history we’re marking at Zion Chapel,” she said. “Running is not about being better than someone else, it’s about being better than you used to be. This quote sums up Cole’s cross country season here at Zion Chapel.

“Whether at practice or a meet, his goal was always to perform or finish better and faster than the practice or heat before. His success was not an accident, it was a choice he made from the beginning.”

While Charles’ short cross country career has earned himself a spot on a college roster, he said he isn’t stopping there.

“It was a great opportunity for me,” Charles said of signing with ESCC. “They aren’t too far from here and it was just a great opportunity for me. My goals are just to run for ESCC for the two years and then try to run at Troy (University), too.”