The 2015 PHS Cross Country Teams (left) join the 2015 Jr. Dragons and 'Nettes (right) to form a formidable gang of runners most afternoons at Roper Park where both teams practice. PHS will host the Pickens Preview XC Invitational this Saturday at Roper Park. Specator admission is $5 for adults and $2 for students and children.
Cross Country athletes from PHS, PCMS and JMS will propel themselves into their first action of the 2015 season this Saturday as PHS hosts the Pickens Preview XC Invitational at Roper Park. Currently 18 middle school teams and 15 high school teams are registered which will likely result in a crowd of several thousand lining the course
after spectators add to the mix of competing runners. The Jr. Dragons and 'Nettes, combined from PCMS and JMS, number almost 60 this year while the PHS Dragons and 'Nettes have 28 boys and 18 girls to fill out their rosters.
The Jr. Dragons and 'Nettes are coached this year by Donny White and Stacy Jent. When quizzed for his thoughts about this year's teams and the upcoming season, White stated “I am very excited about the upcoming middle school Cross Country season! This is the second season in which we've combined the two middle schools, and we have almost 60 kids on this year's team. The interest is growing among the middle school kids, and I think there is a direct correlation between that interest and the success of our high school program. Cross Country requires a lot of physical and mental toughness, and it's amazing to see the hard work and dedication these kids put into it. Our goal at the middle school level is to make running fun and keep the kids healthy so they can carry their talents and love for the sport into high school. Cross Country isn't traditionally a sport that receives a great deal of attention in our area, but that is changing!
Coach Debbie Roper heads up this year's Dragons and 'Nettes, and as does White likes what she has seen so far stating, “Jesse Owens, Olympic gold-medalist runner said, 'We all have dreams; in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.' The 46 runners who comprise the largest Pickens High School Cross Country team in recent memory dream of personal bests, medals, team trophies, and championships. They have put in a long summer of dedication, self-discipline, and effort. This weekend, as we host the first meet of the season, the highly anticipated and very competitive Pickens Preview, we look forward to seeing their hard work pay off in a big way. These dedicated athletes have pounded the pavement and the trails racking up hundreds of miles in hopes of achieving greatness. Coaches Robin Dunn, Taylor Ford, Jonathan Faix, and I are excited and expect both personal and team successes for our athletes.”
The race schedule for Saturday's Pickens Preview XC Invitational starts with the Middle School Boys' Race at 7:45 AM followed by the Middle School Girls at 8:15 AM. Next on the schedule will be the Varsity Boys' Race that will start at 9 AM with the Varsity Girls' Race following at 9:30 AM. The last 2 races of the day will be the JV Boys at 10:15 AM and the JV Girls at 10:45 AM. The middle school race distance is 3200 meters (approximately 2 miles), while the high school race distance will be 5K (3.1 miles). Spectator admission for Saturday's event is $5 for adults and $2 for students and children.