Chad and Amanda Dalton used to have their nerves frayed only half the time while attending Greenwood Community High School cross-country meets.
David, eldest of the couple’s six children, participated in boys competitions. He would run and they would cheer, the girls race serving as a time for both parents to let out one massive exhale of relief.
Ah, the good old days.
This season, David, the Woodmen’s record-setting senior, has been joined at the varsity level by two of his sisters — Lauren, a sophomore, and Allie, a freshman.
MEET THE DALTONS
Favorite TV show: “Community”
Favorite athlete: Roberto Salazar
Favorite movie: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
Favorite food: Doritos
Favorite TV show: “Psych”
Favorite athlete: Michael Phelps
Favorite movie: “Despicable Me”
Favorite food: Chinese
Favorite TV show: “Psych”
Favorite athlete: Jordan Hasay
Favorite movie: “Up”
Favorite food: Mexican
“I would say (meets) are stressful. You’re always wondering how your kid is going to hang in there, but it’s real exciting and fun,” said Amanda, a 1993 Greenwood graduate. “I do try to remain calm.”
“We’ve often commented that when we go watch a race with none of our kids in there that it’s a lot less stressful,” added Chad, who ran cross-country as a Greenwood senior in the fall of 1987.
“Now we get two races in a row where there is nervousness and some butterflies,” he added.
David is the No. 1 runner for the boys squad. He’s been a dominant force all
season, his second-place time of 15 minutes, 37.2 seconds at the Franklin Invitational on Aug. 31 establishing a personal best and program record.
“I’ve been running since sixth grade. We had a meet in elementary school, and I did really well,” David said. “I just enjoy going out and putting out the effort. Running gives me a time to relax.”
To demonstrate how much improvement Dalton has made in the past year, consider he clocked a 16:35.7 in the same meet in 2012. His career best before this season was a 15:56.2 as a sophomore at the Flash-Rock Invitational in Carmel.
Looking to make it to the state meet for the first time, Dalton last season came in a distant 36th at the Carmel Semistate in 16:43.4.
“Not making it to state was disappointing, definitely,” he said. “I didn’t train right. I ran OK for the first couple of meets and then dropped off after that.”
Dalton doesn’t want only to make it to make it to state next month in this, his final opportunity, he wants to be the individual champion and break the 15-minute barrier in the process.
Allie, too, would like to be in Terre Haute the afternoon of Nov. 2 as a participant in the girls state meet.
Like big brother, she holds the No. 1 spot for the Woodmen girls team. Allie’s time of 18:58 at the Martinsville Invitational on Saturday knocked 23 seconds off the old Greenwood girls standard established by Amy Hicks.
“I started running because David did it but started loving it about seventh grade,” Allie said. “I started finding it more enjoyable, and I love the competition.”
Lauren Dalton typically is the No. 7 or No. 8 runner for the Greenwood girls. She, too, became interested and later involved in cross-country watching David’s lead.
Chad reveals that during his lone season of 5K races in a Greenwood uniform, his personal-best time was 17:03. Little did he know that 23 years later David would match it ... the first varsity meet he would run as a freshman.
“David is the most decorated runner to ever come through Greenwood Community High School. David and Allie both have a passion for running and love to compete, whereas Lauren’s passion and competitive drive is in swimming,” said Greenwood girls coach Debbie Guckenberger.
“All three of them share a drive to succeed in whatever they do and are wonderful kids who are always striving to do their best.”
As for their parents, the cheering has just started.
Emma Dalton, 13, is a tennis player, while younger sister, Hannah, 12, takes after her three oldest siblings and is an avid runner at the sixth-grade level. Younger brother Jonathan, 6, has yet to direct his efforts toward any one athletics direction.
Upcoming competitions for the Greenwood boys and girls cross-country programs include Saturday’s Whiteland Invitational and a three-way meet Tuesday at Beech Grove.
All the while, Chad and Amanda nervously offer their encouragement.