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Knights Poised for X-Country Opener

By Staff | Aug 17, 2016

Photo by Miles Layton Members of the Silver Knights’ Cross Country team run down a hill during a summer training camp at the high school.

MIDDLEBOURNE – The Silver Knights are prepped and ready for the season opener on Saturday against St. Marys.

During the team’s training runs, the summer’s heat and humidity has surely increased the team’s stamina as much as the hillside course through the woods behind the high school. Though it is a young team, the team has a lot of experienced runners.

“Our runners have had two solid weeks of practice and have been working very hard in the intense heat,” TCHS Cross Country Coach Brenna Haggerty said. “We have a large team this year. The middle/high school rosters total thirty-five runners. I can already see progress in their running at this point. All runners returning from last year are further ahead at this point compared to last season. I am impressed with the athletes’ focus and competitiveness. I am excited to see how all the runners excel this season!”

Silver Knights’ track star Gavin Corley joins the team for his first season running the 3.1 mile course over hill and dale. During track season, Corley cracked the 5-minute barrier around the oval in the mile. This sophomore competed at the regional and state level in the mile among other events. Now a junior, Corley looked formidable and ready to run during Haggerty’s cross country training camp in July.

And Corley has been taking home medals at various local 5K events. In March, Corley captured first place honors with a time of 19:22 minutes at a very hilly Bunny 5k in Middlebourne.

Corley clocked a 20:30 minute time and seventh place overall finish in June at the Paden City Foundation 5K.

Temperatures that day were in the 80s with VERY high humidity factors which most certainly affected runners’ times as they did during the women’s marathon at the Olympics on Sunday in Rio.

Note to Mountaineer long distance sensation Clara Santucci who didn’t make it to Rio based on preliminary reports you may have dodged a bullet literally. Tokyo in 2020 should be a different experience and maybe Rome in 2024 let’s hope and pray.

Back to the Silver Knights.

Josh Frum, a junior, is an experienced who is seeking to prove his skills again on the hills, fields and water crossings for another season. Worth noting, Frum came in 84th with a time of 21:13 at the John Marshall Invitational last season. That course features hills at critical junctures that challenge even the best trained athletes.

Silver Knights’ track star Trey Keys has long distance success, but looks to show his skills in cross country for the first time this season. Keys was a top finisher in the 1,600-meter run at the WTTL meet.

Creed Ammons, who paid his dues running in middle school, now seeks to put some points on the board his freshman season.

“Creed has run in middle school for the past three years and has a lot of success,” Haggerty said. “He was one of the top two or three runners during middle school. He typically finished within the top 20 overall.”

Haggerty said he will have an adjustment period as the distance is longer in high school 3.1 miles than middle school about 1.5 miles.

On the girls’ side of the roster, look to Jahnvi Duncan, Taylor Ebert, Katie Pratt, Hannah Jackson, Emma Paden.

Last season, Duncan finished in 26th place with a time of 24:29 minutes at West Virginia Class A-AA Region One Cross Country Championship at Cameron High School one of the toughest courses anywhere. She competed successfully at the regional and state level in track last season. At the regional meet, this sophomore posted a 6:06 mile time. Duncan was running within the 6-minute mile range during Haggerty’s cross country camp as she was preparing for her junior season.

Pratt, now a sophomore, was the sole Lady Knight to compete at the state cross country championship meet last season. Pratt finished the 3.1 mile race with a time of 21 minutes, 27 seconds to place 33rd in the state championship.

Haggerty said Paden and Jackson have run at the middle school level for the past three years. It is Taylor’s Ebert’s first year, she has never run before, though her stride looked promising.

“I look forward to see how they compete,” Haggerty said.

TCMS roster: Abi Thompson, Kelsi Vandruff, Abigail Ebert, Sydney Smith, Mackenzie Perine, Kate Gorrell, Makayla Haught, Emma Grimes, Kashia Brown, Emily Ebert, Trinity Kanz, Shaylia Kocher, Jordan Ebert and Mallory Westbrook.

“This is a very young team this year with the majority of our runners being sixth graders,” Haggerty said. “Abi, Kelsi, and Abigail all have two years of experience, all are eighth graders. They will be the leader of our team this year. I look forward to these runners learning how to compete and think they will progress throughout the season.”

TCMS roster: Spencer Corley, Jackson Kibbey, Hadyn Brown, James Streets, James Cline, Haygen Baker, Garrett Ammons, David Grimes, Clinton Conrad, Logan Smith, Austin VanCamp, Connor Bailey.

Corley holds the school record for the mile and was in top form during Haggerty’s cross country camp.

“We should be strong again this year with the majority of our top runners from last season returning,” Haggerty said. “Spencer, Jackson, and Hadyn all have two solid years of experience. James Streets was a new addition last year and is returning this season. Haygen Bakers is in seventh grader this season and looks strong.”