Pleasant surprises

Clinton’s Caleb Holt leads CHS runners at last weekend’s Norris Lake Invitational. (photo:Tony Cox )
When Clinton High School began the 2023 cross country season, Coach Tim Kumes wasn’t quite sure what to expect. He had a young boys team and a girls team with some experience.

But the Lady Dragons didn’t have enough athletes to score and qualify as a team for the events on their schedule.

But two races into the campaign, Kumes has been pleasantly surprised.

“I’m very optimistic about the boys,” Kumes said after watching both his teams compete at the Norris Lake Invitational Saturday. “Our girls had some good times, but unfortunately we don’t have enough girls to qualify as a team for our events.

“But I’ve been pleased with the consistency.”

The Dragons, who had seven athletes competing in last weekend’s event, hosted by Anderson County High School, had three runners complete the 5,000-meter run inside 21 minutes.

Caleb Holt led the way for Clinton as he crossed the finish line in 20 minutes, 20.76 seconds, finishing in 121st place.

Cooper Bostrom came in 125th as he completed the race in 20:29.69.

Ryley Brewer clocked in at 20:55.90 and finished 146th.

Lucas Gates came in 179th (22:04.28). Max Bostrom was 232nd with a time of 25:20.52.

Nathan Angel finished 243rd as he crossed the line in 26 minutes. Gideon Follett finished 249th (27:21.77).

The Lady Dragons entered three racers Saturday.

Alli Hollifield finished 54th as she clocked a time of 23:05.38.

Summer Wilson was 136th (29:22.32), and Sophia Tipton was 150th with a time of 30:38.62.

Clinton posted some solid times in its first 5K race of the season, but Kumes is now in the process of preparing his teams for the grind of a long season.

It continues Saturday when both the Dragons and Lady Dragons head to Knoxville to run at Johnson University.

“Honestly, the Norris course is a relatively easy one because it’s flat,” Kumes said. “The course at Johnson University is hilly, and this begins the grind of the season.

“I have to keep the spirits up and we have to maintain our consistency.”