RCHS runners step off into a new season

Tiffany Wayland returns to the cross-country team with goals in mind. Photo by Christine Krapf.

The hope of a new season. The uncertainty of the first contest. The anticipation of triumph.

This week, runners at Rappahannock County High School readied for Wednesday’s contest against Skyline High School of Front Royal on the Hawks’ turf.

“We are a young team, but a lot of the runners stayed fit over the summer and are ready to go,” RCHS Coach James Sharpe said. “We had an encouraging scrimmage against Eastern View two weeks ago, and are excited to compete against Skyline for our first official meet.”

One of the younger members of the team, freshman Danny Collins, expressed his personal as well as team goals for the season. “I really hope by the end of this season that I run a sub-20 5K. I’m running, mentally preparing, trying not to slow down, keeping one pace. We’ve already had one meet, so I’ve established what I need to do.

“As for the team, it was an adjustment going from fast people on Junior Panther to really fast people on varsity. JP ran a 3K; now we’re running a 5K. We have some fast guys. Definitely need to keep that build-up for our District meets.”

Senior Tiffany Wayland described her personal goals as “getting back to where I was last year at the end of that season.” Wayland does have an interesting motivation during practice, “I just attempt to keep up with Rita [Clifton]. She’s really fast.”

Freshman Danny Collins has moved to the varsity squad from junior varsity. Photo by Christine Krapf.

Speed is, of course, a factor, but Wayland, a veteran of the Skyline course, recalled one obstacle in the way of a victory this week. “For this meet,” she said. “I’m not as confident because of the hill. It’s steep with red clay.”

Overall, the RCHS cross country team exudes enthusiasm, confidence and anticipation. “There’s definitely a good feeling to the team,” Wayland said. “The leadership is building confidence. Brittany [Dodson] is captain, which motivates me. Plus, Coach Sharpe and Coach Ramey . . . they come up with different things for us to do in practice, and they make it really interesting.”

Results of the Skyline meet will be detailed next week.