Jefferson will run the region meet in familiar surroundings.
The Dragon and Lady Dragon teams will host the Region 8-AA meet Thursday at Crow’s Lake in Jefferson as both try to qualify for state.
“We’re just honored to represent the whole region,” coach Allen Thompson said. “We want everyone to think it’s a first-class meet.”
The girls’ race starts at 4 p.m. while the boys run at 4:30 p.m. A combined junior varsity race begins at 5 p.m.
Both Jefferson’s boys’ and girls’ squads have beenchanneling their energy towards this moment. Jefferson even curtailed its meet schedule down the stretch to concentrate on getting ready for region.
Thompson said that the two teams have shown “tremendous focus” the last 10 practices.
The girls’ team hopes to qualify for state and build upon recent tradition while the boys’ runners hope to get to state for the first time in their careers.
Meanwhile, Jefferson has been working overtime to get the course ready and ensure that this year’s region meet is a hospitable one. Thompson said hosting honors mean a lot to the program and it wants to leave a good impression. He thinks the rest of the region will be excited.
“I think there’s going to be a nice buzz and a good atmosphere right when people get off the bus,” Thompson said.
Thompson believes the course, which will be just one big loop, offers the true cross country experience – on grass, in dirt, in the woods.
Of course, Jefferson has obvious familiarity with Crow’s Lake course, which will give it some advantage. But Thompson noted that several region teams got a look at the Crow’s Lake layout when they competed in the Oct. 12 MainStreet Newspapers race.
“I think that sneak peek was good for them,” Thompson said.
In the event of inclement weather Thursday, the meet with move to Saturday morning at a time to be announced.
NOTES: James Pinion, a longtime Jefferson cross country coach, will be honored Thursday as the official starter of the Region 8-AA meet.