On a hot and muggy Saturday morning in Smyrna, 16 members of the Moore County High School girls cross country team made school history by competing in their first-ever event. Running its first race in its inaugural season, the Raiderettes cross country team didn’t come close to winning. But it did make great strides for a program in its infancy.
Competing on the course at the Sharp Springs Recreation Area in the Voyles Classic — one of the mid-state’s most prestigious races — Moore County’s varsity girls finished 25th among 44 teams. That’s not too shabby for a fledgling team that not only jumped into the world of distance running for the first time, but jumped feet first by entering an event that drew more than 350 female runners in the varsity division and more than 200 in the junior varsity division.
“I think there is some relief in all of us,” said Moore County coach Sharon Thomas. “Our goal was for everybody to finish and nobody pass out. I think we have something (good) going on here. We have some talented runners, not only on the varsity, but on the JV too.”
Kursten Hawkins finished the race at the 23:40.09 mark to place 98th overall as the top finisher for Moore County. Taylor Holcomb (24:00.99) was 108th and Kinsley Logan (24:01.23) was 109th. Savannah Williams (28:00.90; 233rd) and Delaney Stevens (28:17.76; 240th) were Moore County’s fourth and fifth scorers who counted toward the team total, while Katie Thomas (29:13.22; 255th) and Delaney Hart (33:02.22; 314th) were the final MCHS varsity runners.
Hawkins went out fast, but slowed a bit as the race wore on. Her finish inside the top 100 was a boon for Moore County’s first-year program, while her time was about 4 minutes off that of last year’s A/AA state champion.
“I think they were all pleased with what they did, but they want to do more,” Thomas said. “Now you have to have your team build on this. It’s more about self-improvement and that in itself will help the team be better and stronger.”
For the full-length version of this story, see the Aug. 28 edition of The News. To subscribe, click here.
—ROBERT HOLMAN, Publisher