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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Sikeston cross Country squad preparing for upcoming season

Friday, August 22, 2008

Will Holifield jogs in front of Imaum Weakley during a recent cross country practice at Sikeston Public Schools Stadium. David Jenkins, Staff
By Matthew Bain


SIKESTON-- As football season and the various fall sports begin to crank up, Sikeston's unsung athletes are hard at work. These athletes are Sikeston's cross country team.

Freshman Caleb McGee and junior Lauren Burden run during a recent cross country practice. David Jenkins, Staff
Cross country is coached by Gregg Holifield, an avid runner himself, who also coaches varsity basketball. Holifield brings his running knowledge to bear to help his team increase their endurance and all around conditioning.

The sole returning runner for cross country this year is sophomore Jacob Alsup. "Jacob is our most experienced runner," Holifield said.

Sophomores Imaum Weakly and Will Holifield will make significant contributions to the team as well. "Imaum (Weakly) and Will (Holifield) have been working hard in practice and look ready to compete as well," Holifield said. Other runners include on the mens side: sophomore Micheal Sharrod and freshmen Caleb McGee and Jakhil Valentine. Sikeston also includes two girls, senior Erin Pritchett and junior Lauren Burden. Holifield says, "the entire team is working hard to better individually and develop a team concept as well".

Holifield puts his squad threw a rigorous training program to get them ready to compete with the upper echelon of cross country teams in the area. "We break up our training and do different things every day," Holifield said. "We work on our distance and do timed intervals on the track. We try to add as much hill work as possible because a lot of the courses we run on in meets are quite hilly."

Not being able to run very much in hilly terrain is an obstacle the runners must face. "Its a problem, but we try to do as much on hills as we can," Holifield said. The cross country team uses a hill behind the Sikeston R-6 Board of Education office to mix inclines and declines into their training.

Many of the cross country runners are multiple sport athletes which is something Holifield is happy about. "Multiple sport athletes are great to work with because of their work ethic, commitment and dedication," Holifield said. Cross country is a "big help" to those athletes in their other sports. "Physically, both sports benefit, and the level of fitness cross country requires is great in athletics and in life," Holifield said.

Holifield says that attitude makes all the difference with his team. "We have a great group of kids who are working hard," Holifield said. "We have a few new runners, that I'm glad to see involved. I'm looking forward to the season because my team has a great attitude which will make it very enjoyable. We look to compete and improve every week," Holifield said.

Sikeston cross country will begin their season with a meet in Jackson on Sept. 6.

Sikeston glance

Coach: Gregg Holifield

2008 Roster: Jacob Alsup, Imaum Weakly, Will Holifield, Michael Sharrod, Caleb McGee, Jakhil Valentine, Erin Pritchett, Lauren Burden

2008 Schedule

Sept. 6 -- at Jackson, TBA

Sept. 13 -- at Kelly, TBA

Sept. 20 -- at Cape Central, TBA

Oct. 4 -- at Notre Dame, TBA

Oct. 11 -- at Marshall County, TBA

Oct. 16 -- SEMO Conference meet, TBA

Nov. 1 -- District meet, TBA