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By Dave Taylor

Trimble County High School’s cross country team opened the 2011 season on Saturday in the St. X Tiger Run at the Louisville Champions Park.

“The meet went well,” Assistant Coach Mario Caudillo said yesterday. “I liked what I saw from the varsity boys, I believe they are starting with a very good base. As for the girls, considering we have some new members and the team is young, we will need to bear down and we have some work to do to obtain the goals that I know that they are capable of accomplishing.”

Caudillo is serving as acting coach in the absence of Head Coach Jeff Vincent who is currently on medical leave.

Caudillo said the teams have looked good in preseason workouts. Trimble is fielding boys’ and girls’ varsity teams, boys’ and girls’ middle school teams and boys’ and girls’ elementary teams this season. A total of 31 runners are participating in the combined programs.

“We still have a lot of hard work to do and we as a team are going to take things one meet at a time and I know that the kids will always give me their very best,” he said.

Trimble County’s Cross Country program had a great season last year, Caudillo said. The boys’ and girls’ varsity teams won the North Central Kentucky Conference championship. The boys also won the regional while the girls finished as runners-up in their regional. At the State meet, the boys finished sixth in Class A while the ladies finished fifth.

“The team put in a lot of hard work last year and it showed during the latter part of our season when it matter the most,” Caudillo said.

The regular season meets are all tune-up events for the major events on the schedule, which Caudillo called the most anticipated competitions.

“Our focus again is on winning our conference, regional and placing well at the state meet,” Caudillo said, “state being the most important where the team’s goal is always to place in the top five.”

This year’s runners, while young, are returning with extensive competitive experience. Returning runners on the girls’ varsity are Kylie Wilberding, Kristen Baird, Erin Gonterman, Colyn True, Morgan Chappell and Olivia Cooley.

“We also have new faces which is very exciting because they will definitely add to our mix,” Caudillo said. “They are Hannah Davis, Emily Tingle and Ashby Drake.”

Returning boys’ varsity runners are Conner Ball, Kevin Bailey, Kyle Puckett, Christian Apel, Reese True, Tray Robbins and Corey Bailey.

“I am hoping that the youth of this year’s team will give the entire group some renewed energy, while the veterans of this team pass on their knowledge and experience to the younger runners,” Caudillo said.