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X marks the spot; Cross country team to run for Maumelle this Fall

After experiencing some success in track, several Maumelle track athletes have decided they would like to run cross country. Thus, the birth of Maumelle cross country begins this fall.

Led by Nick Taylor, who was an assistant in track, the Hornets will field a boys’ team this year and hopefully will have enough runners for a girls’ team. Nine guys and four girls attended workouts this summer, but Taylor had 12 boys sign up and eight girls. He also thinks more will join the team with the start of school.

“I coached the distant group in track, and we started doing things that were pretty successful,” Taylor said. “A couple of athletes qualified for state and wanted to run cross country so I volunteered to coach.”

Graduating from Bryant in 2001, Taylor ran in high school but chose not to run in college. A moderately successful runner in high school, Taylor was approached about helping in track and fell in love with the experience. Even though only one guy has run cross country before, Taylor is optimistic about the Hornets.

“The talent is there to be one of the top three to four teams in the state,” Taylor said. “But, they don’t understand that you have to run every day. They will need to commit to showing up and running every day.”

During the summer, Taylor worked with the teams six days a week. To get them to understand the process, he would explain why they do what they do. Every drill has a benefit to the body, and he would explain all that.

Senior Adam Hoy, a move-in from Monticello, is the only Hornet who has ever participated in cross country. He was a member of the fourth place 4x800 relay team and also qualified in the 3200 meters. Other members of the relay team are sophomore Sean Adams, juniors Darrius Thomas (also a qualifier in the 800) and Cody Motes. Others on the team include senior Felix Danchenko, juniors Zach Williams, Stephen Edwards and Xzavier Pettus and sophomore Hayden Anderson.

On the girls’ team, four of the girls earned all-state honors as members of the second-place 4x400 relay team. They want to run cross country to try and win state in that race. Members are senior Kayla Gamble (third in 400 meters and qualifier in 100 and 200), senior Kamillah Phillips (qualifier in 200), junior Maiya Anderson (qualifier in 300 hurdles) and junior Akeia Joyner (sixth in the 400). Also sophomore Caroline Sweet placed eighth in the 800, 1600 and 3200 meters. Senior Danielle Hudson and sophomore Jordan Marshall are also on the team.

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