With many cross country athletes likely having missed a chance to compete in the spring track and field season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there remains a concern that history might repeat itself this fall.
Nevertheless, the runners on the Russellville Indians cross country team are ready for the season to get started, head coach Zach Bryant said.
"I'm sure there is a mix of emotions. With the track season getting canceled that is definitely a concern that it could happen to cross country," Bryant said. "But we are also excited to be able to, as of right now, have a season and get to run and compete as a team. I think both teams are ready to get back in the saddle and go."
Bryant said with everything going on in the world, his main goal for the team is to get the athletes out there running and competing again.
Bryant said he has been pleased with the turn out the team has had during the summer for conditioning.
"It has been several years since I had a full girls varsity, and this year we should be right at seven when in the past have had three to five runners," Bryant said. "We had some track meets this summer and could gauge some of our fitness off that and I think we are right on track."
There are multiple runners on the boys and girls teams that can help lead the teams this season, Bryant said.
"Campbell Nichols will be a senior this year as a returning state qualifier. With Arjay Wilson and him putting in the miles this summer, I think those two can lead the boys team this year," Bryant said. "On the girls team, my seniors Olivia Barnett and Natalie Kirchner have been running all summer and you couldn't ask for better leaders for the younger girls on the team."
Getting through the season injury-free and seeing progress being made throughout are some of the things that Bryant said he would like to see this year.
"Every season, I just want to see progress through the season and run injury-free," Bryant said. "I would like to see some wins this year in the team standings for girls and boys both. Then when districts comes around, see if we have what it takes to make it to the next step."
Russellville cross country schedule
Sept. 5 - 9 a.m., at Jefferson City Invitational
Sept. 9 - 4 p.m., at Vienna Invitational
Sept. 12 - 9 a.m., at Linn Invitational
Sept. 19 - 9 a.m., at South Callaway Invitational
Sept. 26 - 9 a.m., at Hermitage Invitational
Sept. 30 - 2:30 p.m., at Show Me Conference at Mokane
Oct. 3 - 9 a.m., at Calvary Lutheran Invitational
Oct. 10 - 9 a.m., Russellville Invitational
Oct. 17 - 9 a.m., at Smithton Invitational
Oct. 23 - 3 p.m., at Bowling Green Invitational
Oct. 31 - TBA, District at TBA