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Junior Jeremy Craft led the Morgan County High School cross country team, Photo by Josiah Connelly

By Nick Nunn

By Nick Nunn staff writer The Morgan County High School (MCHS) cross country teams competed in the 8-AAA Region meet on Thursday, Oct. 31 to finish the 2013 season.

The MCHS varsity boys came in sixth out of the eight teams in the region with an average time of 18 minutes and 55 seconds in the 5K, while the girls placed sixth out of seven teams, averaging 23:45.61 in their 5K race. “It was a tough meet for us,” said MCHS Cross Country Head Coach Brandon York.

“This was the toughest field that we’ve ever faced; there were no fewer than four National Elite class performances by other runners.” “We saw a number of folks turn in season bests and personal records, and I’m very excited about that. We’ve seen so many runners grow over the season.

Many of our female runners came to us with very little experience and have developed into competitive athletes.” According to Coach York, the tough competition pushed many Morgan County runners on to setting personal records. “Yakira Chapman again led the charge for our ladies’ squad, but our two freshman standouts, Jessie Pagett and Carolina Zant, were hot on her heels,” stated York.

“Yakira was a few seconds off a personal record, while Pagett and Zant established new personal records.  Lacey Campbell and Megan Hume rounded out our top five, both establishing new personal bests.” “On the boys’ side, our boys turned in very respectable finishes, but again, we up against very stiff competition,” said York.

“Our runners finished respectably, despite a few battling nagging injuries. Again, we were led by Jeremy Craft, a junior, followed by seniors Wyatt Howard and Zach Stone.” With the 2013 cross country season ending for the MCHS teams, Coach York made sure to point out the losses that the team will face upon the graduation of several Morgan County seniors later this school year. “I can’t say enough about our senior class,” said Coach York.

“They have been instrumental in carrying the program to the position that it is at currently. Wyatt and Zach both have held the school record –Wyatt currently holds the school mark at 17:16 – and Wyatt and Matt Almand were key to developing and mapping out the course that we currently use for our home meets.  On the ladies’ side, Elizabeth Mahoney, despite injuries hampering her senior season, has proven herself an invaluable leader for a relatively inexperienced girls team.”

“Many of our seniors have been with us longer than four years. Elizabeth Mahoney and Zach Stone began running with our team in middle school. It certainly will be a different group without our seniors. They have established a standard that we can hopefully continue to raise in years to come.”