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The City Journals

Young, close-knit Highland cross country team off and running

Aug 29, 2019 12:18PM ● By Josh McFadden

The team is young, but head coach Tera Hunter still expect the girls to finish among the top 10 teams at the 5A state championships in October. (File photo/City Journals)

By Josh McFadden | [email protected]

Experience is critical to a team’s success, but sometimes a squad can rely on the talents of younger athletes. That’ll be a big part of what the Highland cross country team does this season.

The Rams have a strong group of underclassmen to lead the team in 2019. Head coach Tera Hunter is excited to see how some incoming ninth-graders can bolster both the boys and girls.

“We've had another great group of freshmen join our team this year, and we are looking forward to a competitive season where both the boys and the girls will excel,” she said.

Hunter is particularly optimistic about the girls team, which she said “performed very well last year.” The team is young, but she still expect the girls to finish among the top 10 teams at the 5A state championships in October.

Sophomores Kate Murdock, Lola Maldonado, Emma Johnson and Chloe Leaver were key factors in getting the girls team to state last season. They are all back and join senior Roma Maloney to lead that group. 

As for the boys, senior Micah Jeppson and junior Jacob Limburg will be among the top competitors. They have a good supporting cast, including junior Jared Wright and sophomore Evan Norris.

Hunter’s runners have talent and dedication. She also loves how well the team has come together. The camaraderie has been integral early on. 

“This team is a family,” she said. “They are so good at encouraging and challenging each other. This group in particular is able to handle anything we ask them to do. They are incredibly hard workers and are so ready to start competing.”

The closeness and communication will be important as the season goes on when the Rams face stiff challenges from region foes. 

“We are on a great track so far this season,” she said. “Our focus now is on getting the varsity teams to remain in contact with each other and really start competing as a team.”

Hunter said when all the pieces are in place and everyone works together, individual success will come as well. With these elements, she said the Rams can be successful.

“I am looking forward to seeing the teams succeed together and all of the individual accomplishments,” she said. “One of the greatest things about cross country is watching every athlete put the hard work in and see the results by the end of the season.”

Highland won’t find the going to be easy. The Rams are part of the challenging Region 6, which includes some new foes this season. 

“We are once again in a very competitive region, and are looking forward to competing well and fighting for that top spot,” Hunter said. “We are also looking forward to defending the All-City trophy and making sure we keep it.”