The Fort Mill and Nation Ford cross-country teams are on different ends of the spectrum when it comes to participants for the 2018 season.
The Jackets may have one of the biggest teams in the state with roughly 150 runners, while Nation Ford has just 34 runners.
Fort Mill has 110 returning runners from last year including top girls’ runners in Sydney George and Abigail Dawson, who finished second and fourth in the state respectively.
This year’s Fort Mill team is being coached by David Helms, who has assisted for several seasons and took over for Marc Pyrc, who stepped down from his second stint with the team last spring. Helms said that of the 110 returning runners, the team also has almost 50 new runners.
“We are one of the biggest teams in the state,” Helms said. “We have a very deep team. We have a solid chance at being one of the top teams.”
Of the 150 runners roughly, 65 are girls and 85 are boys. Fort Mill will open their cross-country season Sept. 1 at the Trojan Relays. Fort Mill will have just two home meets at the Anne Springs Close Greenway coming Sept. 11 against Clover and then Oct. 2 against Nation Ford.
For Nation Ford, it is about make the most of what you got. Head coach Jake Brenner said he isn’t worried in the lack of numbers, but feels good about who he has.
“We have a good core returning,” Brenner said. “I feel like we still can compete. We got some solid freshman. I think it will all even out.”
Part of that core that makes up the 16-member girls’ team is the defending state champion in sophomore Katie Pou. One big addition to the girls’ team is Morgan Werner, who finished 16th in the state meet last season, who transferred in from Rock Hill High.
“We are looking for her to be a contributor,” Brenner said.
The Falcons has an 18-member boys’ team.
Nation Ford opens it season Aug. 25 at the Providence Invitational at McAlpine Creek. Like Fort Mill, the will have a limited number of home meets. They will host Clover Sept. 4 and will host Northwestern Sept. 18, with both meets at the Greenway.
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @MacBanksFM