A new chapter in Moore County High School sports begins on Saturday when the MCHS girls cross country team kicks off its inaugural season with a meet in Smyrna. The Raiderettes varsity and junior varsity squads will take to the Sharp Springs Course for their first meet, the Voyles Classic.
Moore County’s girls team, while inexperienced, will be jumping right into the fire as the Voyles Classic is one of the midstate’s most competitive meets of the regular season. With close to 30 teams entered, it will be a good first test for Moore County and will let the Raiderettes know how they stand against some quality opponents.
Moore County coach Sharon Thomas helped start the cross country team during the summer. A runner in high school, Thomas said she’s still learning the ropes. She’s put together a modest schedule for her team, which has strong numbers with 17 runners. She hopes what has started quickly can level off and keep going at a solid runner’s pace in the future.
“Other than golf and cheerleading, the girls have nothing to do here in the fall,” said Thomas. “The boys have football. With cross country, you really don’t need any equipment. You need good shoes, they help, but you really don’t even have to have them. And you don’t need a facility. It just seemed like a natural thing to do.”
Thomas said she actually wasn’t the best distance runner in high school, but whether or not you are competitive isn’t the issue. Running is a sport that athletes can take with them long after high school and can help promote health down the road. If any of her runners do that, she knows the program will be labeled a success.
So after a couple of years of thinking about a cross country team, Thomas went into action.
“I just had too much to do with,” she said, adding that when daughter Erin’s basketball career came to a close it freed up a little time. “Coach (Bruce) Slatton had just mentioned a cross country team to (MCHS Principal Buddy) Smith and I had mentioned it to Mr. Smith too.
“I had to prove to my former principal – former LES principal Steve Green – that I could start a team and still be able to do my job … that it wouldn’t interfere with my teaching duties.
“Pretty much we are the only school in the area that doesn’t have a cross country team, so this just seemed natural, like the next sport we should have.”
Interest was high from the start and Thomas currently has 17 girls running.
The team had an open time trial on Saturday morning to help set the varsity line-up for the first meet. There will be seven girls on the varsity, led by freshman Kursten Hawkins. Hawkins times have been in the 24-minute mark. Fellow freshmen Kinsley Logan and Taylor Holcomb have been right behind Hawkins.
Delaney Stevens, Savannah Williams, Delaney Hart and Katie Thomas round out the varsity unit.
The junior varsity includes Rebecca Baxter, Taylor LaCook, Hailey Henshaw, Mica Rainey, Destiny Hill, Amberlyn Holman, Chrissy Lockhart, Faith Cauble and Grace Cauble. Makayla Ray is on the team as well, but she is injured right now.
Thomas said the team wasn’t planning to compete in the region meet this year, though if there were enough runners whose times were competitive enough, they would be able to compete as individuals, with a chance to qualify for the TSSAA Class A/AA State Meet, which is held at The Steeplechase Course in Nashville.
As for a boys cross country team, Thomas said taking care of 17 girls was plenty for now.
“I would hope if there is someone out there in the community they may do that, or a year or two down the road someone from the high school could take this over,” she said.
—ROBERT HOLMAN, Editor & Publisher