EXTRA POINT: 16 runners stride for goals

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
Being on the Marion High School cross country team is becoming a welcomed epidemic these days.


Twenty-one athletes are trying for the opportunity to compete for the Warriors and head coach Deanna Thierolf this season.


The passion these athletes exhibit now may be indicative of their desire to still be running late in the season at regional and state competitions, Thierolf said.


“Our kids started training in the very beginning of July,” she said. “They started hitting it four days a week. Our guys kind of have their eyes on state-getting there as a whole team instead of just one person.”


The Warriors return every runner from last season-and added 16 new team members.


The only state-qualifying runner, and the only senior on the squad, is Keith Dudley, who hopes for another opportunity to compete at state.


Thierolf’s team has also had an effect on other athletes at Marion. Former football player Andrew Gill, a sophomore, traded in his football cleats for a pair of running shows.


“My husband wasn’t very happy about it, but I brought one football player over,” Thierolf said. “He’s an 800-meter runner and he’s decided cross country might be for him.”


Two Warrior players will pull double-duty by running on the cross country team as well as bumping, setting and spiking for the volleyball squad.


The Warrior boys are working for a chance to go to state this season, according to Thierolf.


“Our guys are strong this year,” Thierolf said. “We’re really deep. There’s about five of them, and they’re showing that they want to be there.”


Although Thierolf encourages her team’s anxious enthusiasm, she’s doesn’t want them to reach their peak too early in the season.


“I think we’re ready to go, but I don’t want them to be really ready to go,” Thierolf said. “I want them ready to go at league, regional and state. I don’t want them to peak too early.”


The Warriors will travel to Abilene tomorrow for their first meet of the season.

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