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Wildcat cross country program turns page
September 11, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Courtesy Photo - This year’s Banner County cross country team is, from left: Teresa Monsees, Josh Boston and Courtney Knisley.

The Banner County Wildcat cross country team has turned a page with three runners completely new to the program.

For the last three years, Amanda Harrison was Banner County’s only cross country runner. Coach Kari Gifford said the team has tripled in size for the 2014 season.

“We have no experience coming back so it’s new to all three of our runners,” Gifford said. “They include a freshman and two sophomores who haven’t gone out before.”

She said right now, the team is learning about the sport and look to improve every week. “We have to start somewhere, so that’s what we’re doing. We’ve only been practicing two weeks, but I’m already seeing improvement in their endurance and conditioning. It’s just going to take time.”

Gifford said the early season meets are important because it gives the team a gauge as to where they’re at and where improvements are needed.

“We’re not going to worry about where we are compared to other teams, but where we are compared to ourselves,” she said. “Patience will also be important this season. We can’t expect to gain big amounts every meet we go out.”

She added that because the sport is new to the runners, they’ll need to learn the basics such as conditioning, staying hydrated, getting enough rest and other fundamentals.

“This is a sport that requires a lot of dedication and a lot of running,” Gifford said. “Teresa and Courtney will run together and push each other, so I look for that to continue. Hopefully, they’ll help each other improve.”

She said because so many different factors are involved, it’s impossible to predict how well the team will do by the end of the season. “I look for improvement from now to the end of the season, not just in their times, but in their own minds and being proud of their accomplishments. And I hope they’ll enjoy it enough they’ll want to come back for next year.”

Banner County Cross Country Schedule

Friday, Sept. 5 at Gering
Friday, Sept. 12 at Kimball
Saturday, Sept. 20 at Alliance
Tuesday, Sept. 23 at Scottsbluff
Thursday, Oct. 2 at Bayard
Thursday, Oct. 9 at Sidney
Thursday, Oct. 16 Districts
Friday, Oct. 24 State
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