The Pontotoc cross country teams have averaged about 40 runners through the summer preparing for the upcoming season. They continue to work toward their season opener at the Myrtle Invitational in New Albany on August 24.
Seniors who will be in their last season are Maclaine Griffith, Blakley Pound, Micahela Lopez, Will Porter, Michael Moore, Tucker Cowsert and Hook Crane.
“Most of these seniors have been a part of this program since junior high, and I know they are wanting to have a great senior year," head coach Mike Bain said. "They have such an influence on our younger runners, and they are so important to our success.
"We lost one senior who was our number one runner last season to an automobile accident. Ethan Carnes had a great junior year and made All-State last season. Ethan is lucky to still be with us after his accident and to still be able to support his teammates.”
The girls are looking to improve on last years 5th place finish at the state championships. Four runners return from last years team that ran at the state meet. Eighth graders Katherine Carpenter and Camryn Stephens ran at state as 7th graders. Also returning are senior Maclaine Griffith and sophomore Kaylin Simmons.
“Caroline McCutchen and Haley Barefoot were consistently in our top 7 last season, and Micahela Lopez is back after being gone for a year," Bain said. "Reannon Hicks has shown a lot of improvement during summer workouts. We have a good group of younger girls who we are looking forward to watching how well they develop as runners during the season”
The boys finished last season as state runner-up, and 6 of their top 7 boys return. Cooper Parmer and Will Porter made the All-State team last season. Also returning are Freddy Porter, JD Chism, Caiden Ivy and Ellis Maffett.
“Losing Ethan means some of these kids are going to have to step up," coach Bain said. "This is a good group of guys who ran at state last year. Caiden and Ellis ran as 8th graders. We have a good group of freshman guys who have had great junior high careers, and we are counting on them to step up and be competitive on the high school level. Freshman Landon Morgan has really shown his potential during the summer workouts. We are also counting on senior Michael Moore to be a more consistent racer in his last season.”
“As school starts back, we are looking for more 7th and 8th grade boys to come out. Our numbers are not where they need to be as we look to the future of the program. Braxton Whiteside and Luke Blanchard have looked really good as 7th graders in their first year. I look for them to be very competitive and fun to watch. Noah Holland is in his 2nd season and should be more competitive as an 8th grader. Hopefully our depth will improve.”