PHS finishes strong 1st year

Published 12:06 am Thursday, November 17, 2016

Nathan Erwin was a top runner for the Eagles in 2016. Josh Dutton/Star-News

Nathan Erwin was a top runner for the Eagles in 2016.
Josh Dutton/Star-News

The Pleasant Home Eagles recently completed their first ever high school cross-country season and even made a trip to the Class 1A-2A State Championship meet in Moulten.

“I couldn’t be any prouder of this group than I am now,” Pleasant Home cross-country coach Troy Turman said. “For our first year having a program, I was really impressed with how quickly the kids took to the sport. None of us knew anything about it coming in, and they just did such a great job.”

At the state meet, the boys’ team finished 11th in the state in the 5,000-meter event with Nathan Erwin brining in the top time for the Eagles.

Erwin finished 37th overall with a time of 19:01.05. Mason Kelley finished in 56th place with a time of 19:26.87.

Ross Wilson crossed the line with a time of 19:54.01 to take 70th place, and Matthew O’Rourke came in 107th place with a time of 21:23.79.

Pleasant Home finished with a total time of 1:41:45.30 for an average of 20:21.06.

“On the guys’ side, I really felt like Nathan Erwin, Mason Kelley and Ross Wilson really lead the way for us,” Turman said. “For the girls, Cynthia Rodriguez and Ashlan Kelley were great leaders for the team.”

In the girls’ 5,000-meter event, the Lady Eagles finished 12th overall in Class 1A-2A division with a total time over 2:17:40.74 for an average of 27:32.15.

Cynthia Rodriguez was the top finisher for the Lady Eagles as she came in 69th place with a time of 24:55.85.

Dixie Cordle was the next Lady Eagle across the line as she finished in 89th place with a time of 26:30.98.

Right on her heels was Gracie Syler who finished in the 91st place with a time of 26:41.55.

Ashlan Kelley finished in 111th place with a time of 29:24.25, and Katelyn Carter finished in 114th place with a time of 30:08.11.

“We generated a little success in our first year having a program,” Turman said. “I thought we did great at sectionals and did a good job at state. I’m proud of each of these kids and we hope that this can generate some more interest in the program.”

Turman said that the efforts he saw from all his runners really impressed him all season.

“When we started out, I didn’t know anything about the sport and the kids didn’t know anything about the sport,” Turman said. “A lot of people look as running as a punishment, but that’s not at all what it is. Running helps you develop some real mental toughness, because if you aren’t uncomfortable when you are running then you aren’t doing it right. Our kids quickly picked up on that and you could really tell a difference between our first meet and the state meet. Every single one of our runners improved their times during the year.”

Turman said that he hoped this season’s success would help spark more interest in the sport.

“Anytime you start a new sport, it’s hard to get the number of kids you need,” Turman said. “Maybe with some of the success we have had, more kids will want to come out next year for the team. I’ve already had a few kids come up to me and tell me that they are thinking about joining the team next year.”

Turman said he is excited about the future of the Eagles’ cross-country squad.

“We are going to continue to improve each year,” Turman said. “This year, we really didn’t started as quickly with our summer workouts as I would have liked to. Now that we have a season under our belt, we can continue to show improvements and drum up additional support and players along the way. We won’t be losing many off either team this year. We have one senior girl and that’s it. We will be returning everyone else, so I’m hoping that the additional experience will hope us be more competitive at state.”