Jackson Heights Cross Country Preview 2020
Two state medalists from Jackson Heights High School’s 2019 cross country team will be leading the pack in a 2020 season that Head Coach Brad Alley believes will produce some good results.
“We are going to be a small school with a small team,” said Coach Alley, currently in his 14th year of coaching cross country and his sixth at JHHS.
Last year’s team featured a winning, all-state pair in Daniel Little and Annie Allen, and Alley said both will be back as juniors to improve on their previous successes.
Little, who qualified for state his freshman year and finished ninth, won every cross-country race he competed in last year, except for the Class 2A state boys race, in which he finished fourth.
Allen overcame hip problems during last year’s season to finish 18th in the Class 2A state girls race, an improvement over her 30th-place freshman finish.
They’ll be joined this year in a bid to return to the state cross country races in Wamego by several returning letter winners, including seniors Shelby Phillips, Page Deneault, Cheyenne Hewitt, Noah Hill and Alex Edwards, as well as sophomores Skyler Mann and Alex Browning.
New faces on the team include freshmen Nate Linck and Wyatt Rollins, and Alley said he looks forward to their successes.
“Both will be varsity runners,” Alley said of the two freshmen. “Wyatt has the toughness to do it, and Nate has a natural talent in running.”
Alley — who will be assisted again by Gary Keehn — said that keeping his runners healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic will be key to the team’s success.
“This pandemic creates challenges because of the unknowns,” he said. “We don’t know what other meets are going to demand, if our contracts with schools will get canceled or if we will have limited participation in meets. We can only control what we can control. We will take the necessary precautions where required and hope for good health along the way.”
Alley also said that in addition to the Cobra runners, the Northeast Kansas League teams to watch this year include McLouth and Jefferson County North, the latter of which will feature senior runner Trevor Pentlin, who finished second in the 2A boys race at state.
The Cobra runners will start their 2020 season with a Holton High School-hosted meet on Thursday, Sept. 10.