PASCO -- Area runners hoping to continue their careers in college have to head out of the Tri-Cities to do so.
Chris DeShazo hopes to change that.
DeShazo, who ran at Pasco High before graduating in 1987, is forming a cross country club at Columbia Basin College that will start competition in the fall.
DeShazo said he's looking at four races throughout the Northwest that CBC runners could enter as a club program. They would not be eligible for the NWAACC championships.
"I've talked to some kids who'd stick around if there were a program here," said DeShazo, who returned to the Tri-Cities last August after living the last seven years in Arizona.
While there, he ran at Mesa Community College, where he got a nursing degree in 2003, then assisted then-coach Michelle Resendez.
"I wanted to get back into coaching and recruiting," DeShazo said in explaining why he wanted to start a club team at CBC. "Athletics is the only reason for some kids to go to school and hopefully get an education."
With athletic budgets tightening at the CC level, there was no way CBC could add cross country as an official sport.
"Starting a club team was the quickest way to get something going," said DeShazo, who is a nurse at Walgreens OptionCare in Kennewick. "To be official, the paperwork goes through Sept. 7. In the meantime, I've been telling people this is going to be an option."
DeShazo needs nine people to join the club as well as a faculty adviser -- he would serve as a volunteer coach. He's also hoping to expand the club to include track and field in the spring.
After going through the chartering process, the club would be eligible to receive funds from CBC out of its clubs budget to help pay for travel expenses and uniforms.
"We need to keep it within reason for the first season," DeShazo said.
For more information, contact DeShazo at 509-366-2498 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Rene Ferran: 509-582-1526; email@example.com.