Fort Mill and Nation Ford have their sights set on a Region III cross-country title but know they probably will have to run past Rock Hill High to win one.
Fort Mill has several runners with experience and is heavy with sophomores, despite some senior leadership.
That being said, Rock Hill and Northwestern should be the toughest competition the Yellow Jackets see this year.
“We may be one notch below Rock Hill right now,” said Yellow Jackets head coach Terrance Herrington. “We have to be better than we were last year.”
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Herrington said the team needs to get the lineup of his top seven runners figured out for both the boys’ and the girls’ squads.
“On the boys’ side, our (No.) 3 and 4 boys will have to be really good,” Herrington said. “For us to get over the hump, we need to get stronger in spots three through five.”
Fort Mill’s No. 1 boys’ runner is shaping up to be senior Jeremy Ricks. On the girls’ side, it’s potentially Melissa Smith, also a senior.
The Yellow Jackets open the season Sept. 6 at the Trojan Invitational.
Falcons have depth
For Nation Ford, participation is up, with nearly 60 runners trying out. Falcons head coach Alexandra Vroon, an assistant last year, and Richard Cooney, head coach last year, have traded spots.
Vroon said she is happy the numbers are up with more runners coming out for the team.
“One of our main goals is to make to state (as a team),” she said. “We think we can do that this year.”
Second, Vroon said, she wants runners to improve on their personal records.
“We want everyone to (reach a) PR,” she said. “They train as individuals, but we make it as a team.”
Vroon said heavy recruiting and a bigger sense of team unity helped for a larger squad this year. The team has nearly double the number of runners from last year.
On the boys’ team, Vroon said, senior Will Manning and sophomore Ben Kelly should lead.
For the girls, the pieces are still coming together, she said.
Nation Ford will open the season at Rock Hill on Sept. 9.