KFHS cross country improves

Published 10:08 pm Thursday, November 17, 2016

King’s Fork High School’s cross country team finished 13th at regional cross-country meet recently, a big improvement on last year’s results.

The Bulldogs placed last out of 16 teams during the event last year.

King’s Fork was one of four teams competing in the meet from the Hampton Roads area. Coach Steve Sheppard was proud of how both the girls and boys team competed. The top three boys this year placed higher than the No. 1 boy’s runner from last year.

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“The boys really turned it on,” Sheppard said of his boys’ team performance at regionals. “Our top four boys really performed well.

Sheppard is working hard to build the King’s Fork runners into an elite cross country team. In seasons past, King’s Fork has not been known as a really dominant long-distance running school. However, Sheppard is confident that with good coaching and the right attitude from his runners, that goal will be met sooner rather than later.

“We had great performances throughout the year from our underclassmen,” Sheppard said. “Seven of our top 10 guys are underclassmen that will be returning. Also, seven of our top 10 girls returning is promising, as well. Everyone is very coachable, and both (teams) should be very competitive.”

Many of the runners were excited about what the cross country program has done for them this season. The workout program helped some runners cut as much as six minutes off their times.

“It’s a matter of helping the kids believe in themselves,” Sheppard said. “Some of the runners feel they max out, but sometimes if you help build their confidence you can help them cut down their times by a minute or two.”

Four of the Bulldogs, two boys and two girls, received all-conference honors this season.

Marcus Ramos the No. 1 runner for the boys’ team, will return for his senior season. His brother, Miguel, owns the King’s Fork cross country record, a goal Sheppard is encouraging Ramos to reach. Junior Hannah Marston, sophomore Madison Schultz, freshman Cree Diggs-Brown and freshman Alexis Kyles will return for the girls’ team.

Senior Paige Summers will be going into the indoor track season with a solid cross country season under her belt. She was the No. 1 runner for the girl’s team. Tytionna Smith and Amesha Miller will be going into the basketball season having used cross country as tool to help prepare them for their season.

“I’m proud of all of the runners we had this year,” Sheppard said. “The goal is to keep building the program. If we keep doing that, I think our goal of reaching the state meet is within reach.”