Come Thursday afternoon, one local Muscogee County cross country team will be able to call itself the best around.
All eight Muscogee County public high schools plus Pacelli, Brookstone and Callaway as well as the county’s middle schools will participate in a cross country meet. The meet, held at the course that is interwoven with Kinnett Stadium, gives the 11 high school teams an early test against local competition.
“It’s a good opportunity to see where we stand,” Northside head coach Teresa Dean said. “It’s nice to be able to have this friendly competition throughout the season before some of the championship races come up in October. We can put ourselves out there.”
For Jordan head coach Russell Scott, Thursday’s competition is more than a test to see where his team stands. The Jordan athletes will compete at this course in the Region 5-2A meet, which means earlier meets like this one can give runners plenty of time to learn the course.
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“After each meet, we’re just looking to get faster and faster, knowing it’s going to be our region meet course. For us, it’s a little bit different,” Scott said. “I’m looking forward to it, and I’m real excited.”
Race A of the meet will begin at 4:30 p.m., with the second high school race following at 5:15. After those 3.1-mile races, the middle schools will compete at a two-mile distance.
Dean was among those who applauded the fact all Muscogee County School District middle schools now field cross country squads.
“I think that in the long run is going to be huge for our programs,” Dean said. “A lot of times, kids come into high school and don’t even know what cross country is. I think by opening it up to these middle schoolers, we’ll have a better showing of ninth graders.”
Scott was pleased with his team’s efforts in the Leesburg Invitational, where he said the Jordan boys took 10th among 22 teams and the girls took 12th. Dean, meanwhile, applauded her Patriots’ work through two meets but said her Lady Patriots haven’t lived up to the expectations.
That, however, could very well change Thursday.
“We just want to see them compete and learn their race strategies and what works for them,” Dean said. “Even the older runners, they need to figure out who their main competition is. A lot of times, we’ll use these races as glorified workouts.”
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports