Cave Spring X-Country Team Reloads

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Head coach Tommy Maguire says this X-Country team should be “fun.”

Head coach Tommy Maguire says this X-Country team should be “fun.”

Focus is the main word in the Cave Spring Cross Country camp this season, as the Knights’ girls and boys team, look to make a challenge in the River Ridge District, which has seen strong showings, by both Hidden Valley and Cave Spring in the recent past.

Girls: the girls squad finished fourth in the district, third in the region and eighth in the state last season, and are looking to make a challenge this fall against Hidden Valley and Blacksburg. “We have a more focused group of girls,” said coach Tommy Maguire, who is starting his ninth year at the helm of both the girls and boys teams.

The top seven performers this year are freshman Katie Fortner (last ran a 19:50 5K as an 8th-grader), junior Melissa Schaefer (ran a 20:09 as a freshman), senior Jamie Phlegar (“hardest worker on the team,” said Maguire), senior Jessie Fortner, Katie’s older sister (ran a 12:11 in 3200, outdoor last year), sophomore Kerri Dalton (“a very hard worker”), senior Lauren Stiles (“a strong racer”) and Andie Van Kerhove (“[another] strong racer”).

As for the team’s strengths and weaknesses, Maguire added, “More focus as a strength and a small number of girls as a weakness. It should be a fun group to coach,” noted Maguire.

Boys: running into the 2010 campaign, the Cave Spring boys are working hard to make a challenge for the top spot, which Blacksburg is expected to hold. “I predict Blacksburg to win the district – and then it could be anyone else,” Maguire said.

This year’s top seven runners include junior Cody Seymour (finished sixth in the state last year), senior Andrew Smith (an all-district and all-region runner in 2009), freshman Dan Seymour (new to the team), senior Tom Hudson (ran a 17:25 5K last year), senior Michael Conley (new, sophomore), Joey Caplingler (“strong racer”) and junior Mark Mercer (new).

“This year we have a very focused and hard working group of guys,” said Maguire. “It should be a fun group to coach.” Both the Cave Spring girls and boys teams open their 2010 season this Saturday, Aug. 28, as they participate in the Clash of the Titans at Hidden Valley. The action starts at 8:30 a.m. Cave Spring hosts its own invitational meet, Knights Crossing, at Green Hill Park on September 14.

By David Grimes
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