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Coach expects solid season from teams

By Curtis Carden
Sports Writer
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The season is underway for the Unicoi County High School cross country programs and head coach Gary Howard likes what he sees out of the squads.
“We have one of the largest teams that I’ve seen in awhile,” Howard said. “We have 19 boys and nine girls and we’re going to be competitive this year in the conference.”
Seniors will lead the charge for the Blue Devils, according to Howard.
“There’s a strong group of runners for our boys,” he said. “Ryan Waldrop, Austin (Garrabrant), Chris (Razo) all have been in the program for four years now. Our boys run good in packs and will be strong competition in the conference.”
While the girls program may not sport as many as the Blue Devils, the Lady Devils can sure make up for it, said Howard.
“Whitley (True) is back this year and she’s one of the strongest runners around here,” he added. “She came in second last year to a seasoned, senior runner for Sullivan North. She’s currently sporting a stress fracture and will be out for about two weeks. If we can get her healthy and back into the swing of things, she’ll be good to go.
“Haley Adkins is our only senior runner, but she’s really improved from last year. Ashley Edwards and Stephanie (Richardson) are also some of our strong runners for our girls team.”
The conference is shaping up to be one of the more competitive years for the Three Rivers Conference.
“We’re going to be competitive this year,” Howard said. “The kids have worked hard and we’re just going to go through the season, aim to win the conference and maybe even try to sneak a few kids into state this year.”
The UCHS runners will be in action on Thursday, Sept. 20, at Sullivan North High School.
“It’s one of the most unusual places to run,” Howard said. “It’ll be big for us though because that’s where our conference meet will be this year.”