Cross country team picks up new runners
Phil Williams would love to have even more runners join his cross country squad, but he's glad to have a few report since practice began last week.
Williams convinced Heather Helm, Aubrey Koontz and Jennifer Wagner to join the squad on the girls side, while Adam Hamby and Jacob Ferris have joined the boys squad. Williams also is looking to add another girl to the roster.
Tonganoxie originally had 18 out for the sport, but the team now includes 23 runners.
"It's not where I'd like it to be, but it's not too bad," Williams said.
The Chieftain girls return to the courses after qualifying Helm and Laura Korb last October for the state meet.
Although Helm now is back, Korb, who was a four-time state qualifier, has graduated.
And on the boys side, Kyle Norris, Tony Aligo and Tommy Powell all have graduated after leading the Chieftains to a third-place state finish last fall in Wamego.
For the Chieftains this season, there are six seniors between the boys and girls squads -- Helm, Elizabeth Smith, Amanda Chenoweth, Aubrey Koontz, Ben Brest and Tyler Davidson.
After Friday's 4 p.m. intrasquad meet at the THS cross country course, the Chieftains will open the regular season at the same venue with the Tonganoxie Quadrangular at 4 p.m. Sept. 4.
Upcoming meets after that include a Sept. 11 trip to Atchison for the Maur Hill Invitational and a Sept. 18 junior varsity meet in McLouth.
The Chieftains have been practicing before school to avoid the afternoon heat. Williams said practice has been going fairly well, but his team members haven't been running the miles he'd like them to because of the heat.
"I'd like it to be in the 80s or below, but I'm sure all the other schools are in the same position," Williams said.
The coach could get his wish -- meteorologists are predicting a 50 percent chance for rain on Friday and a high around 80 degrees.
"I'm hoping it pours," Williams said.