JEFFERSON’S cross country runners are out for more highlights following a 2010 season in which the Lady Dragons qualified for state as a team and Dragon runner Kyle Kashuba reached the boys’ Class AA meet individually.
Both girls’ and boys’ teams open the season Aug. 24 at the annual Spartan Ekiden at Athens Academy.
Coach Allen Thompson said the Jefferson runners put the offseason to good use.
“The team utilized the summer to bond, create their running base and also attend team camp at Piedmont College,” Thompson said.
Jefferson features three all-region varsity standouts — Kashuba (a sophomore), sophomore Reese Bowles and junior Cara Smith — to lead an experienced group of 35 runners.
For the boys, Kashuba finished 14th at the Class AA boys’ meet last year, running a 17:29. He qualified for state by logging an 18:10 at region, good for sixth place.
Thompson also praised senior Trae Timmerman for his leadership throughout the offseason. Timmerman finished 30th in the region last year (19:32).
“I’m excited to give this season all I have,” Timmerman said. “We’ve got a great nucleus of runners, and we’re all working hard together as one unit to achieve our goals.”
Meanwhile, for the girls, Bowles finished 27th overall at the Class AA girls’ meet last year, running a 21:27, while Smith was 44th at state with a 22:27. Bowles and Smith were seventh and eighth at the region meet respectively with times of 22:19 and 22:26 to lead Jefferson to a second-place finish in 8-AA.
Girls’ head coach Katie Sellers expressed her excitement about the upcoming season.
“The team has been working very hard considering the difficult weather conditions and injuries,” she said. “We’re starting to bond and understand the true sacrifice that it takes to become a competitive 5K runner and program. I’ve appreciated the senior leadership thus far on both teams and hope that it continues as we gear closer to the start of our season.”
Jefferson’s biggest home meet of the year is the Sept. 29 MainStreet Newspapers meet at Crow’s Lake.
Sellers said she hopes the community will come out to support the event “to see some truly great runners in northeast Georgia.”
For more information on Jefferson cross country, visit www.jeffersondragons.com.