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Local runners ready for fall season

Local runners ready for fall season

Pitman High cross country runners stay in a group during a practice this week.

POSTED August 26, 2011 11:20 p.m.

Despite all the miles and workouts they demanded from their runners during the first week of fall practice, the cross country coaches at Pitman High and Turlock High had a problem. It was, essentially, a good kind of problem to have. They had too many runners.

So the coaches were forced to make cuts, just to be able to keep track of everyone. First, they made the workouts hard enough so the runners can remove themselves from the team, but that didn’t work with everyone. So that’s when the coaches, who are happy to help develop runners, stepped in and made the cuts.

Both schools began tryouts with about 100 interested runners each. Before long, the coaches trimmed their combined rosters for the boys’ and girls’ teams down. Turlock ended with about 70, and Pitman finished with around 85.

“We like to hover around 70, so we can handle, remember everyone and keep tabs on them,” said JoAnn Davison, who co-coaches Turlock with Mike Brown.

The Pitman coaching duo of Kim Runyan and Debbie Clemens has the same philosophy.

Both coaching staffs seem happy with their final decisions.

Pitman and Turlock, along with Hilmar High, will get a better idea of their runners on Sept. 10, when the teams will race in the Sierra Invitational at Legion-Tuolumne Regional Park in Modesto, considered one of the bigger races to begin the fall season.

Pitman and Turlock both lost strong runners from the 2010 season after graduation, but this group of Pride and Bulldog runners are determined and capable of making an impact and breaking down personal times throughout the fall, along with some young and unproven talent.

“It’s more of a different start for us,” Runyan said about her Pitman runners, “because they’re younger and will have to gain experience. We have a lot of potential. They’re progressing quickly.”

“Our expectation is that we all want to win,” said Davison, one of the Turlock coaches, “but only one person can win, so their personal goal has to be beyond that. So we want them to do their best and let the chips fall wherever they may fall.”

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.

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