Cross-country team starts boot camp
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Watauga cross-country coach Randy McDonough showed his veterans that summer vacation is over on Monday.
Watauga's veteran runners reported to practice at 6 a.m., Monday, and again with the veterans at 6:30 p.m. The night practice was cut short because of lightning, but the message was clear — it's time to get back to work.
“We do what we call boot camp on the first three days,” McDonough said. “The veterans come both times and the newcomers come at six-o'clock.”
McDonough said the coaching staff “works them pretty hard,” during the first three days. They run two times per day and do a lot of strength building. If they Pioneers can survive the first three days, then all practices are in the evening until school starts.
“We're strength building and team building,” McDonough said. “We're getting them back in the habit of getting them waking up at the proper time. They've been sleeping late all summer, so we're hopefully getting them in a regular sleeping pattern.”
McDonough said the girls' team has its work cut out for it. Watauga lost several seniors, including longtime standouts Hannah Barbour and Hailey Middlebrooks.
Two standout runners — former state champion Darby Middlebrooks and Madison Harman, return. The boys' team also returns several runners from last year.
“We've got a very strong boys team coming back,” McDonough said. “We've got to replace those five seniors that have been in the top seven their entire career. We've got Darby and Madison coming back and we've got to see who fills in after that.”
Watauga's first meet is Aug. 18 at home in the Clash of the Classes.