Eagles race out of gate

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Pleasant Home has had strong showings in the school’s first year competing in cross-country.

Pleasant Home has had strong showings in the school’s first year competing in cross-country.

The Pleasant Home Eagles have raced out to strong start in the first year having a cross-country team, and the boys’ finished third at a meet in Enterprise on Saturday.

“I’ve been extremely proud of the way that we have competed in our first year every having a team,” Eagles head coach Troy Turman said. “It’s a new experience for all of us, but I feel like we have done a great job early on.”

On Saturday, the Eagles traveled to Enterprise to compete in their second ever cross-country meet, and came away with a strong finish.

“We were the smallest school at the entire meet,” Turman said. “No other teams there were below 3A, and were able to get a third place finish for the boys’ team.”

Turman said that the Eagles beat a lot of bigger schools who competed in the meet.

“It was a great meet for us,” Turman said. “We beat teams like Straughn, Opp, Charles Henderson, Wicksburg and Headland. That’s a good sign for us a first-year program.”

The idea to start the team came last school year, Turman said.

“Last school year, I talked to a bunch of parents and kids to see if there would be any interest in starting a cross-country team,” Turman said. “I had a handful of parents and kids that came to me and said they wanted to do it. After that, I talked to Mr. (Craig) Nichols (PHS principal) and he went and talked to Mr. (Shannon) Driver (Covington County School Board superintendent) about getting it start. Mr. Driver gave us permission and we held tryouts at the end of last school year.”

Turman said that the tryouts went well and he ended up with a good roster for both the boys’ and girls’ teams.

“I kept 16 kids that came and tried out,” Turman said. “We have nine boys and seven girls on the team.”

This summer, Turman said that the team began working out and preparing for the season.

“We started working out and conditioning back in late July,” Turman said. “The boys are really starting to get in shape. It’s been a little harder for the girls’ team because most of them play volleyball or cheer. They haven’t been able to get in as much work as the guys have at this point.”

The Eagles started the year with a meet in Dothan where the boys finished in seventh place. The girls’ team didn’t have enough numbers present to compete as a team, but Ashlan Kelley finished 17th out of more than 60 runners when she competed as an individual.

“I thought that for our first meet we did pretty well,” Turman said. “We were a little nervous because it was something that none of us had ever done before. This is my first year every coaching cross-country and I’m learning just like the kids are. We are going to continue plugging away at every day. This is really a sport that I believe we can be very competitive in.”

Turman said that he expects his teams to continue to improve as the year progress, and he sees good things in the program’s future.

“The kids are excited about it,” Turman said. “This kids are going to continue to work hard and get better. There is a chance that we could place in top half this year at sectionals, and that would be a tremendous accomplishment for a first year program. I’ve already had kids come up to me at school telling me that they would be coming out for team next year,”

The Eagles next sanctioned meet will be held Oct. 1 when they travel to Brewton to compete in the T.R. Miller Challenge.