‘Runnin’ Raiders’ gearing up for cross country season

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By The Staff

While most youths stay inside and away from the high temperatures that have been the norm lately in the Ohio River Valley, one local athletic team can still be found “putting in the miles” six days a week around Trimble County and the surrounding parks.
Starting in early June, the Trimble County cross country team began their annual summer training program in preparation for the upcoming fall season. Although the program has fallen off in the team standings the last few years due to low participation numbers, the individual success of these athletes has helped keep the legendary reputation of the program alive and well.
Looking towards the 2017 season, the “Runnin’ Raider” boys will be led once again by sophomore Quentin Huff who finished 112th out of 219 in the state championship meet last year. Along with Huff will be fellow 2016 state qualifier Noah Napier who is returning for his second season as well as two 8th graders who joined the squad for the first time this summer.
When asked about the upcoming season for the boys’ team, Head Coach Mike Baird had this to say: “We have some different paths we can take this season for the boys’ side of things. A lot of what we do heading into October will depend on how these four boys run. We do have Bray Taylor a 7th grader that we can move up if we really feel like we have a chance at qualifying for the state meet this season. We will have to see if he is even ready for that though.”
Although the Trimble County girls’ team will not be scoring a full team this season due to a lack of runners, the team has an extremely exciting season ahead for the two high school members that it does have. Freshman Eliza Weston took home the program’s first Top 10 finish at the state championship meet in nearly a decade last year while fellow freshman Rachel Liter finished just inside the top 40. Coach Baird makes the point that although there will be no team scores this year, the girls’ team could really show that it is still dominant with top individual finishes at the state meet.
“I feel like people are really underestimating what kind of potential these two girls have,” he said. “We could seriously be chasing an individual state title this season and on top of that could be placing two girls in the top 15 at the state meet which is huge for any program anywhere. As a coach, these are the kind of things you dream of. We could really see something special when November rolls around.”
Just like in 2016, the Runnin’ Raiders will open their season at their only home competition of the year on Saturday August 26th at the Trimble County Backwoods Invitational which will be held at the Trimble County Park. Coach Baird said last year was the biggest home meet the program had ever held with nearly 20 teams and 400 athletes in attendance. This year he hopes to see it grow even more. “We don’t do anything small here in this program. If we are going to put on a home cross country meet then I want to see the park packed with cars and buses from corner to corner.” The first race is at 9:00 a.m. that day. Admission is $5 per car at the far north gate (Gate 3).