As the 2023 high school cross country season kicks into high gear, Clinton High School Coach Tim Kumes is finding plenty of reasons to get excited.
Both the Dragons and Lady Dragons competed in the Johnson University Invitational in East Knox County Saturday.
Clinton’s boys had eight entrants on a hilly course, and all the Dragon athletes finished in the Top 100,
Cooper Bostrom, a freshman, was the top Clinton finisher as he earned 54th place, crossing the finish line in 22 minutes, 10.20 seconds.
Lucas Gates finished 60th (22:39.48). Caleb Holt was 61st (22:42.71). Ryley Brewer posted a time of 22:51.79 and crossed the finish line in 67th place.
Xander Porter was 91st (26:17.13). Max Bostrom came in 97th (27:00.02), while Gideon Follett was 98th (27:06.78). Nathan Angel posted 27:14.44.
Kumes was pleased with his squad’s efforts.
“The kids are starting to see the results from all their hard work,” he said. “When you’re around sports, if you work hard and consistently, you start to see results, and I think our kids are starting to see that.
“In the last couple of weeks, the weather has been a little hot and sticky, and they tell me that the cooler temperatures are coming.
“As the weather gets cooler, it will be easier to run, and if the kids continue to work hard consistently in practice, I think the times will come down. The really exciting thing is that we don’t have any seniors on the boys team and our top finishers are freshmen.”
Kumes also noted that the steepness of the course presented another challenge, but it was one that both the boys and girls handled well.
“Sometimes, kids will psych themselves out on this course,” Kumes said. “But we talked about strategy and conserving energy for the second half of the race. The kids have been on the course, even the new ones, because they’ve run it with the middle school program.”
The Lady Dragons had a pair of athletes in action Saturday and both placed in the Top 40.
Alli Hollifield earned a medal by virtue of her 14th-place finish. She crossed the finish line in 25:19.94.
Summer Wilson finished 36th as she posted a time of 29:49.99.
“Alli won a medal because they gave medals to the Top 15 finishers,” Kumes said. “And Summer had a good race.”
Clinton’s teams will run at Sequoyah Hills on Saturday.