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Lake City High School

 

Lake City cross country continuing to improve

By C.R. Cumbee
Staff Writer

Lake City—The Lake City cross-country program continues to gain traction under third-year head coach Josh Jennings, who began the program from scratch. 
The Panthers have over 30 athletes participating, including more than 20 boys, and should continue to grow in the near future.  Lake City also had its first-ever home meet earlier this season, where both the mayor and superintendent showed up to support the team.
“We’ve built up our base and I felt like the next step was to have a home meet so we could have our fans show the kids how much they’re appreciated,” said Jennings.  “We had a really good turnout.  We actually didn’t have enough parking it was such a well-attended meet.  That was huge for our program and gave us some more exposure for the folks who still weren’t sure what cross-country looks like.”
On the boys’ side, senior Damien Lee is trying to end his career in style.  He is the team’s top runner for the third straight year, clocking in a low time of 20:10.  For the girls, freshman Xzerrya Clark has already climbed to the top spot in just her first season competing.
“They’ve both gotten that taste of success,” Jennings said.  “You definitely coach them a little bit differently because one has experience and the other is getting that experience.”
Sophomore Irvin Fajardo has pushed Lee for the lead while junior Ben Courtney is currently the next finisher.  Austin Shake, Chandler Gause, Ashton Jones, Arnoldo Lopez, Fidel Lopez and Antonio Lopez are all young runners that are improving.
Junior Ashley Quintero and sophomore Kara Whitten are second and third in their respective lineup.  Allison Quintero, Jada Dickson, Jasmine Bradley, Shamaya Taylor and Briyanna Owens make up the rest of the Lady Panther roster.
“We’ve got a real young team so we’re just trying to build each meet and drop our times.  We want to see how fast we can get.  I understand this is a year we’re trying to rebuild for the future, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate individual successes within the team,” Jennings said.
Lake City will be back in action Oct. 9 at South Florence before competing at the region meet Oct. 16 in Marion.

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