“Train like it’s race day.

“Respect rest.

“Create and draw energy off the team-family dynamic.

“Have fun.

“Leave nothing on the course.

“With risk, comes rewards.

And “shut the door on negativity.”

With those philosophies, co-coaches Bucky Webb and Paul Smartschan are leading a young group of Powhatan runners overall into the upcoming 2019 cross country season.

Following what the coaches described as likely the largest graduating class in the history of the program this past June, this year’s team features a lot of new runners, including Chloe Grell, Lucy Redlich, Rebecca Ray, Alyssa Gorman, Audrey Lennon, Virginia Bird, Raquel Iga, Lauren Lampkin, Cassie Murray, Brayden Hamilton, Anthony Cavedo, Jack Connelly, Brodie Glanden, Erik Glanden, Liam Clancy, Cole Whiting, Josh Holland, Gavin Rice and Grant Woodard.

But according to both coaches, the returners - among them third-place region meet finisher and 29th-place state finisher Gavin Timmons, top 40 region meet finishers Ashley Trevillian and Lexie Elzey and teammates Davis Tester, Jackson Tester, Sophie Dolan and Carly Dolan - have learned the importance of the coaches’ philosophies from the past seniors, and they’re doing a great job teaching them to this year’s newcomers, the coaches said.

Webb and Smartschan noted that, as a whole, the runners’ dedication to their pre-season “base” training has been very impressive. Most came into tryouts in great shape already - the coaches said - which has benefited them with regards to their being able to handle the volume and intensity of the workouts so far.

The Indians are very excited about the switch to the Dominion District. The Jefferson District cross country competition was strong, the coaches said, but they look forward to taking on local teams on nearby courses like the upper course at Pocahontas State Park.

In addition to the runners striving to consistently improve upon their personal bests on the courses, their goals this season are to have fun and push themselves beyond their mental and physical limits while competing hard as a unified team.

Sportsmanship is also always a goal in their program, the coaches said: supporting and encouraging teammates and opponents is something they try to do at every meet.

The Indians also look forward to improving on their regional finishes from last year, with the boys having finished 6th and the girls finishing 9th.

Powhatan Cross Country will take on four races in the William & Mary Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 14, beginning with the girls varsity (A) race on the Eastern State Course at 9:45 a.m.

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