Cross Country looks to improve on last year

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By Mike Aldridge

Coach Danny Simpson has two state qualifiers returning for the 2012 season and some others returning who have been out for a while, which gives hope for an improved season in 2012.  
Only Jacob Marsh graduated from last year’s squad and Jacob was injured for the entire year so it is much like the team is back with a few exceptions.  
Three seniors are on each the Fillies and Thorobreds squads with similar situations facing both squads.
The Fillies have seniors Bailey Caudill, Heather Randolph and Alexis Roberts back for their final campaign.  Only Caudill ran last year with Roberts out with an injury and Randolph running for the first time in 2012.  
Simpson expects Caudill to be a leader as she is a three-year starter for the Fillies.  Four juniors return, three with experience from last year and one with experience but who did not run last year.  
Tabitha Iles, Kayla Joy and Chelsee Mattox all return to give depth to the team’s performance.  
Erin Bradford returns after a year out with an illness and should contribute greatly to the scoring.
Sophomore Brook Frederick is also back. Frederick qualified for the state last year and was the Fillies leading scorer as a freshman in 2011. She has shown some great potential during her early year in 2011 and Simpson expects her to be a leader again in 2012.  
Simpson has four of his top five finishers in last year’s regional meet back this year in Frederick, Caudill, Joy and Iles.  
First-year varsity runners, sophomore Morgan Nelly and freshmen Tamara Lunsford and Chelsea Bowman, are also showing potential during practice.  
There are 12 other girls out now from the Harrison County Middle School who will run in their meets this year while preparing to become Fillies in the years to come.  
Many of the meets that Harrison County attends have first elementary then middle school competition along with the varsity meet to promote youth running.
The Thorobreds also have the bulk of last year’s regional points back for 2012.  
Senior Joey Faulconer was the top runner for the Breds last year and Simpson expects him to be even better this time around.  
“Joey should be one of the better runners in Central Kentucky,” Simpson said. “He has worked hard and will be a key part of our team this year.”  
Other seniors on the squad are Damon King and Joe Thomas.  
Thomas who ran in the state track meet last year is expected to give a serious boost to the fortunes of the Thorobreds.  
King has run in previous years but did not compete in 2011.  
Junior Harry Smith, sophomore Shane Palmer and freshman Travis Fry each scored in last year’s region and will be counted on for more of the same in 2012.  I
n addition to the returning region scorers, Simpson is counting on sophomore Austin Short, junior Nathan Radford and freshmen Josh Getting and Kyler Snapp to add to the overall effectiveness of the Thorobreds.  
Like the girls, there are 12 middle school runners for the Thorobreds who will compete in the meets that have the elementary and middle school divisions.
The schedule begins on Aug. 21 when the squad travels to Woodford County to compete.  The competition is, like most years, tough with Covington Catholic, Lloyd and the Franklin County schools strong in the boys’ and Highlands among the better teams in the state in the girls’.  
“We should be pretty good potentially,” said Simpson.  “The weather has made practice a little difficult but we will be rounding into shape and are looking forward to the challenge.”