Increased numbers.

For most coaches, it’s a good problem to have.

That’s the case for the volleyball and cross country programs at St. Clair High School.

Both programs have seen increased interest this fall as the 2014 season begins.

Ashley Mims enters her third season as St. Clair’s head volleyball coach with more girls than she can keep on the roster.

“We have 29 girls out, so we’ll have a freshman, JV and varsity team,” Mims said. “But we’re still going to have to make cuts.”

The Lady Bulldogs were going through tryouts Wednesday, with cuts coming later in the week.

“We actually have kids competing for the same spots this year and that’s actually an awesome feeling,” Mims said. “It’s a great problem to have.”

St. Clair has nine returning varsity players this season who are expected to lead the way. Six of those players are seniors.

“We are a little more experienced this year and they’ve improved a ton over the summer,” Mims said.

The other varsity positions are currently up for grabs.

St. Clair went 3-13 last season, going 2-5 in Four Rivers Conference play. Mims expects the Bulldogs to have a much better season in 2014.

“I think they’re hungry,” Mims said. “They’re ready to start competing. If we can get it together and gel, we could have a really nice year. The girls are way more competitive this year than when I first came here. They want to make a name for St. Clair Volleyball.”

Cross Country

The St. Clair cross country program just keeps growing.

Like the volleyball squad, the cross country team has increased numbers as well.

Coach Ben Martin reports that there are 40 athletes, boys and girls, out for the team this fall.

“This is the biggest group we’ve ever had,” Martin said. “When I started here seven years ago we only had 14 and now we’re up to 40.”

Martin said word of mouth at the school and having a successful program is what attracts newcomers.

“It just builds every year,” he said. “They hear it’s fun and want to be part of it.”

Martin noted his boys team was very dedicated over the summer.

“The boys put a lot of time in over the summer and we’re seeing great things already,” Martin said.

The Lady Bulldogs will also feature several underclassmen this season and the varsity spots are still up for grabs.

“It will be interesting to see how the girls team shapes up,” Martin said.

Martin, who is assisted by Shawn Spicer, said the season got off to a great start with the program’s annual Midnight Mile.

And thus far, the coaching staff has been pleased with the team’s enthusiasm for distance running.

“The focus right now is to get some good base miles in,” Martin said. “We need to get the miles before the speed workouts that are ahead of us.”