Seasons open for A-J cross country teams
The Anna-Jonesboro Community High School girls’ and boys’ cross country teams were scheduled to open their seasons early this week with events slated in Pinckneyville.
Girls’ Cross Country
A-J cross country coach Matt Denny said the girls’ team will build around sophomore Brodie Denny, who advanced to the Class 1A state cross country meet last season. She was also a Southern Illinois River-to-River Mississippi Division and all-sectional performer last season.
Denny looks to senior Julia Hall as the emotional team leader on the squad.
Other team members are senior Olivia Bowen, junior Marisol Gamora, sophomores Kayle Stover and Lily Baker and freshmen Shannah Webb, Lakelyn Carter and Bree Hazelrigg.
“The kids have been working really hard in practice,” Denny said. “Our depth should be okay this season.”
After opening at Pinckneyville earlier this week, the A-J girls are scheduled to run again Tuesday, Sept. 1, at the pre-conference meet at Benton.
Boys’ Cross Country
Denny said the A-J boys’ cross country squad could surprise some people this season.
A pair of juniors in Jayden Perez and Blake Mays lead the Wildcats. Both return as Southern Illinois River-to-River Conference Mississippi Division selections.
Other runners on the squad are seniors Nick McGrath and Colby Bowman, juniors Yovani Garrillo and Beto Vaca Diaz, sophomores T.J. Macy and Matteo Vaca Diaz and freshmen Zach Henry, Josh Williams, Jason Swink, Daniel Dover and Eric Chen.
Denny said Beto Vaca Diaz could surprise some opponents this season with his improvement and the freshmen could also add depth as well.
“Our freshmen are good and can really help us develop at the varsity level,” Denny said.
Along with the girls’ squad, the A-J boys are slated to run again Tuesday, Sept. 1, at a pre-conference meet at Benton.