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Augusta Cross Country Kicking Off New Season

August 20, 2014
Augusta Independent Schools

                In the fourth year since the program’s return, Augusta’s Cross Country team has been hard at work well before the school year even began.  The team is coming off the heels of being represented by a runner in the State Championship Meet for the second consecutive year last season.

                The high school team has similar numbers to last year with six runners, all male.  Nick Zeidler, Augusta’s only senior this season, is returning for his second year.  Zeidler’s best time last season came in the final meet of the year at the Region 5 “A” Championship where he ran a 22:01.  “We need Nick to at least run around 20:00,” Coach Tim Litteral stated.  “I don’t know exactly what type of expectations Nick has in his mind, but I know he wants to improve on last season.”  Camryn Snapp, the team’s lone junior, has ran in the State Championship the last two seasons.  He placed fourth in the Regional Championship and is a contender to win the Region 5 Class “A” Championship this season.  Last year, he placed 32nd in the State Championship Meet, running an 18:12.  His best time of the season came in at 17:42.  “Camryn is a hard worker and expects everyone else to put in the same effort as he does, which is what makes him a good leader,” Litteral said.  “By the end of the season last year, he was consistently running under 18:20.  He already seems to be ahead of where he started last year, and we’re hopeful he can consistently run in the 17:00s this year.”

                After the two upperclassmen discussed above, the team has four freshmen.  David Reed has been with the team for three years.  He ran several meets as a varsity runner his eighth grade year and competed in the Regional Meet, where he ran a 5K in 21:58.  This season will be Rhys Todd’s first with the Panthers, as he transferred from St. Pat to Augusta last season.  “We need Rhys and David to both be sub 20:00 in order for us to be successful as a team,” Litteral said.  “I’ve been encouraged with what I’ve seen from Rhys in practice and I really feel David has the potential to be a big help to us.”  Two other freshmen, Jon Barrett, who was not on the team last year, and Adam Sallee, are both having to overcome injury.  “Jon started out dealing with a foot injury, but with the doctor’s approval, worked through that and continued to practice,” Litteral said.  “Adam has been told to sit-out a week and rest his foot, but hopefully we will have him to start the season. Because we only have six runners to start with, and it takes five runners to constitute a team, they’re both very important to us.”

                What has taken a hit is the middle school program.  After having approximately twelve runners last year, seventh grader Seth Fouts is the only middle school runner for Augusta this season.  “I hate that Seth is always going to have to run as an individual, but if he puts his mind to it, I feel like he can have a successful season.  We had four eighth graders last year who have moved onto high school, a few decided not to come back out for us, and three or four moved out of the district,” Coach Litteral explained.  “Once again though, we’ve had more than 15 students in grades 3-5 come out for our elementary program, so we hope this will help build the program for the future by exposing them to the sport and acclimating them to running early on.”

                According to Coach Litteral, one of the team’s primary goals is to qualify for the State Championship as a team, something the program has yet to do in the three prior years.  “If we can stay healthy, I feel like that is a goal within reach as long as they’re willing to put in the work to achieve it,” Litteral said.  Augusta’s middle school and high school teams will open the season on August 25 at the Opening Day Invitational in Pendleton County, followed by the Ryle Invitational in Union, KY, on August 30. 

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