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Trinity cross-country team multiplying roster with new youth

MORGANTOWN — The Trinity Christian cross-country team began preparing for the season and is accompanied by a lot of new faces.

The team nearly quadrupled in size compared to last year’s roster of five, to bring the total to 10 boys and nine girls. In the process of expanding, the team has also kept all of its experienced runners.

“We have our whole team back so we’re pretty excited,” head coach John Barnett said. “We have two girls that are returning state qualifiers from last year and one boy that’s a returning state qualifier from last year. We’re pretty young; we have seven freshman boys and four freshman girls. We have two senior boys and one senior girl. We’re really excited to try and go out there and score as a team this year.”

The three returning state qualifiers are not pushovers, either.

“The two girls we had last year, one’s my daughter [Jenna Barnett], she finished fourth at the state meet last year as a freshman and she’s working hard. Sofia Pancoast, she finished 11th and she didn’t get to run in 9th grade so she was in 10th grade last year, but it kind of was her freshman season.”

On the boys’ team is Peyton Dixon, returning senior state qualifier, who Barnett has coached for his entire high school coaching career. Dixon got his start with his middle school track team and did not make the move to cross-country until his 8th grade season, but keeps getting better with time.

“Last season, I feel like I worked harder than a couple years before, and I’ve just gotten stronger and I’ve been able to compete better. I had better competition last year to push me,” he said.

Dixon has his sights set on having a historical season for the Warriors as he sets his sights to topple the 17:47 school record time, but also has high confidence in what his team can accomplish.

“I feel like the boys’ and the girls’ side will have really good teams this year. We are actually able to have teams. This will be the first year that we’ll have a chance of having a team go down to states,” he said.

Barnett holds high confidence in his freshmen group, too.

“They tend to push themselves, especially on the girls’ side,” he said. “They work really hard, they support each other. They are going to be the foundation of our team moving forward and I’m excited about that. They’re all working hard and they’re only going to get better.”

The team had a late start to their three-week session due to the late finish of the track season. Barnett said they are currently working on conditioning, but as time moves on they will start with a more-formal routine of distance and stamina training.

“We do one long run a week and then two shorter runs and then we do two workout days, hill day and speed day,” he said

The Warriors’ season will begin Saturday as they compete in the Autumn Classic at St. Marys.

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