The Vikings cross country program has doubled in size this season.
“We’re young, but we are going to turn some heads this year,” said coach Rodney King. “Last year we only had three girls and three boys, this year we have seven boys and eight girls.”
Out of those 15 runners, 11 of the athletes are new faces in the program, and King believes his runners are where they need to be at this point.
“This has to be the strongest and largest group of freshmen we’ve had in several years. They all love the sport and are very dedicated to getting better and succeeding.”
Over the summer the athletes focused on endurance and since August 3 have increased their mileage, according to King.
On the girl’s side, the coach is looking to sophomore Morgan Cone and freshman Lauren Collins. For the guys, Dawson Durham and freshman Jacob McGee will be ones to watch.
“I’m looking at these four to go out and set the example,” he said. “However, Emma Frye, Emma Stanbery, Bailey Durham, Madison Sexton, Brandy Bolens, and Autumn Knight are crucial on the girl’s side at helping our team meet the goal of winning conference and finishing in the top four of the region to qualify for the state meet.”
Junior Fulks, Josh McQuinn, Isaiah East, Zach Rose, Nick Hulbert will also be crucial on the boys side, King said.
“Basically we are expecting big things from them all.”
As a coach, King sets the bar high with his athletes and expects the same from them.
“I hope the kids will take with them an appreciation of hard work and self-discipline. I want them to learn to work together, which they already are, to achieve the goals Coach Dillard and I have set for the team. I hope they enjoy this sport and accomplish great things in the years to come since most of them are freshmen and sophomores.”
Saturday the Vikings traveled to Boone to run in the Pioneer Clash.
“We did very well. They raced in grade level groups and the freshmen really impressed us. Our four sophomore girls really stepped it up and showed they are capable of being good cross country runners.”
Collins finished fourth in the freshmen girls race and Morgan Cone, Jacob McGee, and Dawson Durham all took home top 10 finishes.
King’s goal is for his team to win the conference, finish in the top four of regionals and qualify athletes to run in the state meet.
“Right now we’re already working towards track season with the ultimate goal to win another state title in boys track and to win one in girls track.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.