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Season opens Saturday

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Season opens Saturday

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Coach excited about runners

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Jones County runners visited North Carolina for a distance camp this July.

CROSS-COUNTRY

Geoff Moore is excited about the start of crosscountry season.

The Jones County coach says he believes both his girls’ and boys’ teams are capable of competing for region crowns and advancing to state this season.

The Greyhounds open the 2018 season on Saturday with a trip to Locust Grove for the Into the Trail Invitational on the same course that will be used for the region championship in October.

“Then the next week (Aug. 25) we’ll run in the Saucony Battle of Atlanta (in Hampton) against some of the top teams in the state, so we’ll see pretty quick how we stack up against top competition,” he said.

The Lady Hounds are led by senior Erin Leonard, the two-time defending Class 5A state champion, and talented sophomore Laney Doster.

Senior Eli Boland leads the improving boys’ team.

“We had a good summer. We’re getting more and more organized, with a lot of our runners buying in and training all year,” Moore said.

“We got started the first week in June and had about 30 kids working with us. We would have runs at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., and we had most of them putting in 20 to 30 miles a week, and some were doing 30 to 40,” he said. “That’s what it takes to build a strong program. You can’t wait until school starts in August to begin training.”

Moore also took a group of 15 to the Brevard Distance Runners Camp in July in the mountains of Brevard, North Carolina.

“It’s the elite distance running camp in the east now. They have a lot of good running trails, and it is about 20 degrees cooler than here at home, so you can get in a lot of work. They have a good staff of coaches and trainers to help the kids learn more about how to eat and train and get themselves ready. We also learned a lot about teamwork.”

Moore said the boys’ team has four of its top five runners from last season back – Boland, Chandler Nunnemaker, Drew England and Logan Ward – and the Greyhounds have added three good athletes from the soccer team – Jonathan Sorrell, Daniel Hicks and Caleb Spainhouer – who will add speed and depth, along with Bailey Taylor, who battled a knee injury last season.

For the Lady Hounds, the coach said he expects Leonard and Doster to have outstanding seasons, and he is also looking for Halley Smith and Madisen Mitchum to be among the team’s top runners.

“We’re still looking for one or two more from the group that has been working with us to step forward to give us a solid top five for meets,” he said.

JCHS has nine meets on its schedule before the Oct. 20 region championship. The team’s annual Greyhound Invitational home meet will be on Saturday, Sept. 15.