BY TOM HESSE
Sentinel Staff Writer
Mt. Edgecumbe High cross country runners may start the season late, but that doesn’t mean they don’t start the season fast.
“We jumped right in,” head coach Josh Arnold said. “We don’t have time to take it easy. We got to jump right in the pan and the kids respond to that pretty well.”
Seventy-one Braves showed up for the first practice of the season, though that number tapered off to the mid-50s once morning practices started. The Braves missed the opening race of the season in Sitka and Arnold said the team is eager to join the other schools on the trails.
some cardinal and gold on the starting line,” Arnold said. “ We didn’t have a single runner here last week, so I’m looking forward to seeing our colors represented at the starting line in Petersburg.”
Mt. Edgecumbe will started the season at Petersburg Saturday, and follow up with races in Skagway and Ketchikan before regionals in Juneau on Sept. 22. For other teams in Southeast, Petersburg was the second race of the season. Other teams in Southeast also had a fortnight of practice before the opener in Sitka last weekend.
The Braves could only take four runners to Petersburg for their first race and therefore did not post a team score last Saturday.
The top finishers for Mt. Edgecumbe were Crystal McNeily, 11th on the girl’s side, and Andrew Nicolai, 98th among boys.
Sarah Freese finished 48th in 25:13, and Kristina Gibson finished 65th (29:33) to start the young season.
“It always feels like the beginning of the season for us. At the end of the season it will be like we’ve just started,” Arnold said. “We get in. We get in shape. We run a few races and then we’re done.”
Arnold likes the challenge of a shortened season because he gets to jump right into play with his runners.
The Braves harriers share Arnold’s enthusiasm about jumping into the season with both feet. Arnold said the runners who are out are in just as big a hurry to get to competition form as he is.
“These kids are fired up,” Arnold said. “We’ve got some phenomenal athletes out this season and I’ve got really high hopes for them. There’s some really fast teams out this season but by the end of the year we’ll be competitive with anybody.”
Mt. Edgecumbe will run in Skagway this weekend.