Cyclone boys cross country looks to build on successful 2022 campaign

Published 1:30 pm Friday, August 4, 2023

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Elizabethton High School always has had some strong runners to represent their track and cross country sports seasons and last year proved that as both the boys and girls went to state for cross country.
Mark Newman headed that group up as their coach but since has left to take on a role of a full-time minister.
Stepping in to take over the reins is Matt Campbell, who had been coaching football but decided to transition to cross country.
Now Campbell looks to maintain that tradition and has a strong group of runners returning that could possibly give the Cyclones another shot at a state championship in the 2023 season.
“Both boys and girls went to state last year and it’s our goal this year to take both back to state this season and finish a little bit better than what we did,” said Campbell. “We want to compete for a championship. These kids are tough kids. They know how to work and I believe that we can definitely compete and I am excited to have them this season.”
Campbell will be keeping a close eye on a strong group of five seniors led by Riley Vernon to help the team achieve and exceed their success in 2022.
“For the boys, we have a lot of seniors returning as well as juniors,” Campbell said. “Senior-wise, we have Vernon, Max Garner, Brian Presley, Jon Seipert, and Alex Loughner.”
The success experience at the state level didn’t go unnoticed as the Cyclones have been invited to participate in the prestigious 42nd Annual Woodbridge Cross Country Classic in California in September.
“It’s exciting,” said Campbell. “We get to represent Elizabethton High School in Irvine, California and represent the state of Tennessee. We will be leaving on Sept. 12 and returning on Sept. 16 to run in the Woodbridge Classic that Friday night. We will have a couple of days to get workouts in out there in the parks so that is going to be exciting.”
Campbell said that the key has and always will be peaking and performing the best when it counts the most.
“The key always is being at our best in the first week of November,” said Campbell. “Nov. 3 will be our state meet, so we want to be at our best then. As long as we keep improving from now over the next three months, we should be ready to compete.”
Campbell will be assisted by Coach Jim Presnell, who is not a stranger to success in cross country at the school, having led the team to a state championship during his tenure.

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