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Cyclones Cross Country team ready for big test in 2020

BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
STAR CORRESPONDENT
Sixth year Elizabethton head coach Mark Newman is expecting big things from his Cross Country squad this season after placing two runners in the state tournament.
The squad has two seniors Craig Newman who went to regional and placed 40th and is looking to improve on that number this season, and Matthew Caponero.
“Craig was my top runner,” Newman said. “My top girl runner is Breanna Vance and she also had a good showing at the regional tournament. Craig was in the top 40 and is looking for bigger and better this season.”
The remainder of the boy’s team consists of junior Randall Chenault and sophomores Hunter Horan, Hayden Culbert, Colin Nidiffer and Jonah Hall.
Freshmen Max Garner, Riley Vernon and Brian Presley round out the boy’s team.
The girls are junior Kaitlin Darling, sophomores Vance, Gracie Fields and Maggie Howland with freshman Lindie Simerly rounding out the squad.
When he was asked about how the COVID virus had affected his team’s preparation for the season Newman said, “It didn’t really affect us that much. You can run pretty much anywhere and any time of day.
“These kids don’t need much prodding to get them going, they are pretty well self-motivated.”
Coach Newman also expects big things from Vance who as a sophomore reached the regional and posted a good showing there.
“Gracie always gives 100 percent. She is an exceptional distance runner and she pushes the other girls for their best efforts as well. All my kids are competitors and I think we may place a few more in the regional this year. They all push each other.”
The cross country team will get its first taste of competition on Saturday, August 29th when they travel to South Holston Dam in Bristol for the Run for the Hills challenge.
Varsity girls get underway at 8:30 am with the boys taking to the trail at 9:15 am. Junior varsity action begins at 10 am.