Running raiders revel in recent runaway success over Riverdale


No one ever said something worth doing was going to be easy.

Garrett Masters, Arts and Entertainment Editor

On September 11, the Coffee County Cross Country team traveled to Riverdale High School to compete in the Warrior Invitational. The weather was high, and the stage was set.

Based on the design of the course, you would have to be some kind of warrior to tackle it head on like these high schoolers.

As you enter the first half mile of the full five kilometer (three point one mile) course, you are immediately attacked by switchbacks and sharp turns. A canopy of trees envelopes this part of the race, making GPS tracking difficult and visibility muted. 

“There were so many switchbacks and that slowed me down tremendously,” said sophomore Kailee Rossman when describing the course. These switchbacks caused many of the runners to devote more energy to turning sharply than running fast.

After exiting this wooded area, you are immediately thrown into Riverdale’s “backyard,” a field of challenging mini hills and more sharp corners.  “…there were a lot of little ups and downs, which was kind of hard to go up on the hills,” stated senior Bodey Todd.

All of this finally concluded on a three hundred meter sprint to the finish on a track. 

Fifteen high schools entered. And everyone put up a hard fight. But in this race the Coffee County guys team pushed hard to the very top

The boys team had three boys come in the top ten. In seventh place, senior Garrett Masters arrived with an official time of 18:58. Managing to snag the top five, freshman Fletcher Bernard ran 18:43. And then finally, in first place, senior Jacob Rutledge won overall with a time of 17:29.

Some notable runners in the meet include: Junior Holden Shew, who stayed within the top fifteen, and ran a time of 19:42; Senior Landon Kenney who won the combined Junior Varsity heat with an official time of 19:27. Finally, bringing his time up to another personal record (PR) was Senior Giovanni Salazar, who ran 28:25. 

“(PR-ing) in Riverdale was both exciting and painful,” said Salazar when reflecting on the race. “I kept pushing. It hurt, but felt great once I finally crossed it (the finish line) and got a time of 28:21.” 

The Coffee County Raiders are maintaining this season’s winning streaks. Only time will tell if they are able to pace this out until their Regionals meet in October.