By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
With some depth returning to this year’s team, Cherokee cross country coach Eddie Swimmer is optimistic for a successful, productive year.
“We are looking good right now,” said Swimmer. “There is no reason why we can’t be a competitive team at the state and region this year. All of these kids have talent, and with some hard work, we’re going to be in there.”
Speaking of talent, the girls team has two All-Conference runners from last year returning in Kendall Toineeta and Lydia Lossiah. Last season, Toineeta took fourth at the Smoky Mountain Conference meet, 13th at the 1A West Regional meet and 31st at the 1A state meet in Kernersville. Lossiah placed 10th at the Conference meet and 27th at the Regional meet.
Also joining the girls team this year is basketball and track standout Avery Mintz and Devonna Reed who was a standout on the Cherokee Middle School team last season. Bree Stamper and Kaycee Lossiah round out the squad.
Brock Powell and Gabe Crow return for the boys, and they are joined by Michael Arch, Justice Davis, and Levi Swearengin.
The middle school team consists of: Isabelle Saunooke, Jimiqua Driver, Josiah Lossiah, Aniyah Younce, Logan Hux, Tori Teesateskie, Jamie Lossiah, Shelby Wolfe and Shane Swimmer.
Swimmer related he hopes to take an entire team to the state meet this year. “We’re going to slowly progress up to the big meets at the end. For cross country, it’s really the last three meets that count.”
The teams have been busy in the off-season. “All summer has been mostly just distance training, a lot of core work and upper body strength training. My reason behind that is to get a foundation down to aid in injury prevention; no shin splints, no hamstring pulls…just get them used to running. So, now that’s all we’ll be doing is distance and a little bit of speed work.”
Swimmer said the teams will be successful this year with a “good, healthy attitude” and “good teamwork”.