University City

Mustang Madness offers family fun at a growing school

Countryside Montessori School will put its 5K cross-country course to good use on Saturday at its middle and high school campus as it hosts the second annual Mustang Madness.

Mustang Madness is highlighted by a 5K run, but it also features free events for all ages.

"It is a great event, and we got a great turnout last year," said Mustangs athletic director Nick Nichols. "It is a little something for everyone, and I expect to see a good turnout again this year." More than 250 people took part in the Madness last year.

The cross-country trail opened last year, carved through the woods behind the high school campus on Johnston Oehler Road. Last year it hosted a couple of races; this year it will be the site for three upper-school and two middle-school meets.

Countryside requires its student athletes to participate in fall sports if they plan to play winter or spring sports, so students at all three campuses use the trail.

"We have a unique situation, because our fifth- and sixth-graders can play on our varsity teams, depending on the individual skill level and the competition for that sport," Nichols said.

"A lot of our students end up running cross country, so we get a lot of use out of our trail. We are very proud of it."

Last year Countryside graduated its first class of seniors. There were six in that class. This year, 43 students are in the upper school, up 10 from last year. The school has 37 seventh- and eighth-graders and 465 students overall.

Besides the 5K and the family run/walk, other events will include soccer and volleyball clinics, a cheerleading exhibition, line dancing, limbo, spirit tattoos, a bounce house, an obstacle course and free food and drink.

It is fun to watch Countryside grow, and events such as Mustang Madness help to raise awareness about the school and its accomplishments.

"One day we want to have one central campus for all of our students," Nichols said. "But we like how we are just fine for now."