(Harlan, Ky.) – The Harlan Elementary School Cross Country team blasted out of the gate in their inaugural season with more than 40 runners participating during the 2021 campaign. The Dragons made quick work of establishing themselves as one of the top teams in the region.
Superintendent C.D. Morton noted that the Board of Education wanted to be very intentional in supporting our students at a high level. Establishing an Elementary Cross Country program was designed to get our younger kids active while building championship teams at the High School level in the future. He stated that he was elated with how the Dragons fared on the inaugural season, “I really couldn’t be happier to see so many students participating in a sport that I love. This foundation is certainly going to help us accomplish our goals related to student engagement and achievement. We want to support, encourage, and develop our students to be the very best they can be and clearly we have some high fliers competing in Cross Country. They are going to be fun to watch over the next several years as they develop and grow. This is not an accident, the support of the Board and the dedication of the coaches and runners will give us another reason to be proud to be a Green Dragon.”
Coached by Anne Lindsey and Erin Alred the coaching staff felt like the season could not have gotten off to a better start. “I was pleasantly surprised at how many of our students were eager to get on the course and compete. We were intentional in our efforts to get as many students as actively engaged as possible, with the hopes of being competitive. But to perform at the level we did in the first year certainly sets the mark very high for next year.”, commented Coach Anne Lindsey.
Led by 6th grader Harper Carmical, 4th graders Priscilla Stewart, Zoe Lawson, and 3rd graders Cora Jones and Chloe Brock this pack of Dragons were among the top finishers at every contest throughout the season. For the boys, the Dragons were led by Cooper Thomas, Canaan Bolton, Jett Luttrell, Colt Sullivan, Michael Lindsey, Thomas Leo Miller, and Mason Raleigh.
Coach Erin Alred stated, “From an emotional and social standpoint, to see our students and families smiling and cheering for one another throughout the season, I am not sure you can adequately quantify the value of what these kids gained from participating in cross country. This is just another way for us to help meet the social and emotional needs of our families, especially after the last 18 months.”
Fielding as many as 40 runners at the start line, the Dragons enjoyed a strong supporting cast at each meet with all runners showing dramatic improvements in their times. The Dragons will follow up their successful season with an eye on capturing the 13th Region Championship in 2022 as nearly all runners will return to compete at the Elementary level next season.