Eddie Sanders knows a lot about high school cross-country and track.
The York Comprehensive High School head cross-country coach was mentored by the late Bob Jenkins of Northwestern.
Jenkins was a legendary track coach who was named National Coach of the Year. When Jenkins spoke, Sanders listened.
The same could be said of the YCHS cross-country runners. When their coach speaks, they listen.
With sizable team losses due to graduation, Sanders approached this season in somewhat of a rebuilding mode. So he decided to make the off-season something special.
“We had a good summer,” Sanders said before hosting a four-team meet Sept. 9 at the YCHS stadium.
“We ran three times a week at different locations and different domains,” he said. “I told the kids they’d be happy when preseason preparations began.
“We had good summer participation and the kids had better times when Aug. 1 arrived,” he said.
Sanders said improvement was evident when the YCHS runners competed at perennial power Northwestern a week before hosting Clover and other participating teams last week.
“Our kids competed well,” he said. “The Northwestern coaches and runners said we pushed them to run better.”
The YCHS cross-country teams had their moments in last week’s home meet, with eventual winner Clover as well as South Point, N.C., and Lake Point Academy providing the opposition.
The boys finished second and the girls placed third in the early-season competition.
Tyler Jackson and Victoria Burgess had top 15 finishes, each placing ninth in the competition.
“Cross-country requires a lot of self-motivation and discipline,” Jackson said before last week’s home meet. “I receive words of encouragement from my teammates and coaches.
“This type of encouragement gives me the will to keep running.”
Burgess echoed her teammate’s sentiments. “You have to be dedicated in this sport,” she said. “You can’t be lazy. You have to know that you want it.”
Burgess said her goal is to finish a cross-country event in the 22-minute range. “I ran before my cross-country participation but wasn’t serious about it,” she said.
Mariah Craig finisheda second at 21:11.88 among the girls in last week’s competition.
Burgess was ninth at 23:10.47 and Kaitlyn Bolick finished 10th at 23:10.57.
Jared McCone topped the Cougars with a fourth-place finish at 18.14.35.
Other top 15 finishers were: Luke Bomar, 18:51.72; Matt Smarr, 19:01.12; Jackson, 19:15.31; Colt Parker, 19:19.71; and Parker Mumaw, 19:38.08.
York will compete in Saturday’s Winthrop Invitational at 10:30 a.m.