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by Megan Hall, Student Sports Reporter

Cross country season has officially started! The team has already put in many vigorous practices to prepare for their first meet this weekend. The runners have worked very hard to get their times down to a minimum and their miles to a maximum.

Head Coach Brandon Arnold is very hopeful on the prospects of both of the teams earning their way to the NCCAA National Tournament again.  When asked to comment on the men’s squad for this season, he stated, “There are a lot of new faces on the men’s cross country team this year. We have four new, very talented freshmen that will help our team. Those four, along with our two strong returning runners (John Driskell from Jackson, KY, Zachary Templeton from Gate City, Va) , are going to make us a team to watch out for this season”.

Arnold has high hopes for the Lady Eagle runners as well. “I also have the same expectations for my women’s cross country team. They are also very young but are very strong competitors. We have our top runner returning from last year (Brittney Buttrey from Whitesburg, KY) who will be leading a group of very talented freshman and sophomores. This young group has fast runners that I believe can qualify our team for nationals and have a great showing there”.

This year, there are many new faces who have decided to bring their talent to the team on both the men and women’s team.

For the men’s team:

  • Noah Stephenson from Pound, VA
  • Ryan Morris from Lee County, VA
  • Nick Galloway from Berea, KY
  • Dustin Blair from Paintsville, KY

For the women’s team:

  • Cheyenne Boggs from Grayson, KY
  • Elly Fulks from Scottown, OH
  • Kacey Troutt from Whitesburg, KY
  • Jillian Wolf from Grainger,TN
  • Sarah Burnette from Carrol County, VA
  • Kaitlyn Hardwick from Somerset, KY

In summing up his expectations for his running Eagles, Arnold stated, “I believe that we have a great chance of returning to nationals this year and an even better chance to compete for a championship there. The sky is the limit for this team and I look forward to pushing both squads and seeing how well they fulfill their potential.”