Cavs running with a fresh start

Published 9:02 pm Monday, September 9, 2019

The Lakeland High School cross country team is built up of a multitude of first-year runners and is looking forward to how the season goes.

After recently have been under the direction of Coach Greg Rountree, the Lakeland cross country team will have a first-year head coach in John Burket. Not only will the coach be new, but many of the runners on the team will be new to the program as well.

For the boys’ team, it is essentially a team filled with new runners. The Cavs competed in their first Southeastern District meet of the season Wednesday, and Burket felt like the team fared well. Leading the way for the boys has been Emmanuel Williams and Jeremyah Walker. Williams, a freshman, had a strong day, finishing ninth overall with a time of 19:20.

Email newsletter signup

“The first meet was a very positive start to our year, ” Burket said. “Everyone on the team exceeded the time trials we had run in practice.”

On the girls’ side, Lakeland returns Rachael Brinkley who has been running for Lakeland since freshman. Aside from Brinkley, the rest of the team is relatively new, just like the boys’ group. In previous years, Lakeland hadn’t had enough girls to field a full team, but Burket is looking forward to trying to change that this season.

“With some new runners, our goal is to change that this season,” Burket said. “For both boys and girls, we are really focusing hard this year on pacing, proper technique and running form.  I encourage all the runners to focus more on personal conditioning and pacing times, rather than whether we win or lose.”

Lakeland believes with both teams they have the building blocks to field a successful team for the future. Burket wants to make sure he is honing in on helping develop his athletes’ form, skills, breathing and mental toughness.

Lakeland will compete in SED meet No. 2 Wednesday.