“Run Forest, run!”

Mason Powell, Writer

This joke is heard often out on the cross country course where you will find many hard working kids who have found a love for running. There have been many changes to the cross country team during the past two years. They received a new coach last year, Stephen Baker.  He is working hard to get the kids ready for all the races to come. He said, “Our goal this year is to win boys’ and girls’ sectionals and place high in both boys and girls divisions at the State Championship.” The practices have also changed during the past two years. They have become more structured and focused on endurance and strength. Lately they have been having early morning practices to keep the kids out of the hot sun so they can do their absolute best during hard workouts.

The team only has three seniors this year.  Peyton Tyler, a recent graduate, was a role model to all the kids and inspired many to find their love for the sport. Top runner Nate Santiago said, “Even though he (Peyton) is off to college people, including me, still are inspired by his legacy and strive to get to where he was as a racer.” With Peyton gone the team is left with many sophomores and freshmen who have a whole two to three years to improve their times. Coach Baker said,” We have a very young team, but just because a team is young does not mean that they are bad. Our top runner, Nate Santiago, is just a sophomore and is already getting close to reaching Peyton’s times. With a young team, it gives all the kids lots of time to improve their times to hopefully reach their final goals.”

One of the top runners on the girls’ team Chloe Smith said, “This year our boys’ and girls’ teams will have to work harder than ever to make up for some of the people that we lost last year. Some people, including me, will have to step up to fill the shoes that have been left.”

The team says that they would love to receive more support from the school and would love to have their peers out there on the course cheering them on. Some of their home meets this year are The Bob Jones Invitational on September 26th and The Robin Gaines Team Trial on October 15th.

Come to the meets to enjoy a family-like atmosphere where you can cheer on your friends and enjoy the last few days of nice weather.