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Boys Cross Country: (front row: R-L) Ryan Balmer, Jacob Walker, James Field, Zac McDonald, Ever Diaz, Howie Fregeau; (back row, R-L) Chase Mallonee, Regan Long, Harrison Conner, Jimmy Yokel, Caleb Albrecht, Coulter Hall, Kelton Bailey (Captain), Shawn Marcie (Captain)FHS Cross Country looks to add experience to this year’s roster

Franklin High School’s cross country teams will travel to Henderson County for their first meet of the season at Jackson Park on Saturday with 40 teams present for the competition. Women's coach Denise Davis doesn't know how it's going to go, but she's hoping for good things.

“We haven't even run a 5k yet, but I think Saturday's meet will give us a good idea of where we're at,” she said.

Last year's women's team was a bit inexperienced with the loss of a lot of seniors the year before, but this year's team looks to be gaining experience.

Girls Cross Country (front) Devon Smith, Kendall Farrell, Hattie McQuitty, Maddie Horner, Sydney Hensley, Margaret McAllister; (back) Coach Denise Davis, Kristi Queen, Bess Freeman, Danielle Brown, Madi Coulter, Olivia Coulter. Not pictured, Gracie Hornsby, Kayla McLane and Morgan Mohr Photos by Vickie Carpenter“Last year when we started we had lost a lot of seniors, but this year's team is only down one,” said Davis. “Most of the girls have at least one year behind them. We've done a lot of rebuilding over the last few seasons, but we're getting there.”

Rita Esterwood, who coaches the boys team, thinks that they will have a good opportunity to turn some heads this season.

"This year we will bring back some strong runners. The team has been putting in a lot of training hours and miles during the summer and are ready for their first meet this Saturday," she said. "We have four returning seniors and three returning juniors so we have a good experienced team. Our first year runners also bring a lot of experience with them from other sports and from the successful middle school cross country team."

Esterwood plans to implement a new strategy this year in order to bring out the best in the runners when they face tougher competition at the end of the season.

"The top seven runners will be running a few different races this year to get comfortable with some tough competition at conference, regionals, and state competition," she said. "This group of boys have been an honor to work with. Their work ethic and commitment are exceptional and I know they are capable of some great achievements."

Following the meet that takes place Saturday, the teams will travel to Swain County next Wednesday, Sept. 4.

FHS will host a meet on Oct. 2 at Enloe Farm.


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