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Cross country speeds into new season

Russellville’s first cross country meet of the season is quickly approaching, and Golden Tiger athletes have been running all summer to keep themselves conditioned for promising season of cross country.

Coach Kevin England has nine boys and six girls on his team this year, most of whom are returners from last season. The athletes averaged five miles a day running four days a week over the summer, with these “volunteer practices” taking place on campus, at Sloss Lake and in Bankhead National Forest.

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“I know a few days we got up as high as six or seven miles,” England said. “They well understand that if they don’t build their base in the summertime” their performance will suffer in the fall.

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His team includes a large contingent of eighth graders who competed last year, as well as one new seventh grader and two new seniors. He graduated only two last year, so the team is strong on experience. Making practice challenging is that several of his runners are also football players and cheerleaders, limiting the amount of time they can spend training with the time, usually having those student athletes only one day a week.

The team’s first meet is Aug. 27, the Pepsi Challenge in Moulton at Lawrence County High School. “It has a lot of the better teams in North Alabama, so it’s a good way to get the year started off right,” England said. The team’s next competition will be the Chickasaw Trails Invitational Sept. 10.

Season goals include a return to state, and England is excited this year to start the season with enough boys to make a team, which wasn’t possible last year.

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