Multi-Sport/Activities Runners Add Up To Success For Lions’ Cross Country (Posted 10/15/20)

(All Images by Diane Lutz) 2020 Clarion-Limestone Varsity and Junior HIgh Cross Country Teams, Coaches: Nicole Oakes and Erin Hepfl.

(By Coach Nicole Oakes) If 2020 has taught us all anything, it is that tomorrow is never promised to be the same as today, and take every opportunity, and make it your best.

As the season crawled to a start, Lions Cross Country, like all sports in Pennsylvania, were unsure we would ever get to put our toes behind the starting line. When the first gun went off, Lions were out to make each run their best yet.

(Left to Right) C-L runners: Ty Rankin, Corbin Coulson, and Braden Rankin

Now that the regular season is over, the Lions Varsity Boys have finished with a season record of 5-1, outing any season record  the team has achieved over the last five years. This year the Lions have three boys consistently running sub 20 minute races, Braden and Ty Rankin, and Corbin Coulson.

Left to right CL runners: Ty Rankin, Corbin Coulson, and Braden Rankin

For months, these athletes longed for something to do while we were all under quarantine, so when the opportunity finally came about, they just ran with it… literally.

On the Junior High side, Lions are also making waves with stand out front runner Logan Lutz coming in first in each and every race this season, sometimes over a minute before the next runner crossed the line. What makes him stand out, is that Logan is constantly setting goals for himself, asking how he can improve and incorporating feedback to get better results at each race. (Logan recently set the Junior High Boys course record at Clarion County Park.)

Logan Lutz leading the way.

For the Junior High girls, Adisen Jackson is also making a name for herself early on as a seventh grader, coming in as the first or second runner during each race, and this week racing Clarion Area’s, Sophie Babbington, leading to both girls to beating the existing course record at Clarion County Park. Adisen is another one that wants feedback on her run so that she can constantly improve, she sets goals and has a drive to go for them.

Left to right: Sophia Babbington (Clarion Bobcat) and Adisen Jackson running neck and neck.

In a small school, fewer overall athletes means a lot of crossover which is something Lions cross country is proud of. We have well rounded athletes, that learn even more the importance of good communication, managing a schedule and being responsible with hydration, nutrition and balancing responsibilities.

Pulling multiple sports this season include: for Golf – Jack Craig (9th grade), Soccer- Cody Whitling (11th grade), Junior High Football- Caleb Hunter (7th) and Charlie Hepfl (7th), With a tail end of the season overlap, Adisen Jackson (7th), Samantha Simpson (8th), Sydney Smith (8th), Madisen Aaron (9th) are already well conditioned to run up and down the court for basketball. 

Outside of Clarion-Limestone sports; Logan Lutz(8th), Adisen Jackson (8th) and Samantha Smith (8th) all played league baseball and softball during the Cross Country Season. Additionally, many of our runners were/are actively involved in the Band: Morgan McNaughton (11th), Modern Band:Cody Whitling (11th), Samantha Simpson (8th) and Boy Scouting: Logan Meier (7th), Braden (12) and Ty Rankin (9th), Corbin (11th) and Aiden (8th) Coulson , and Cody Whitling (11th).

Rounding out the Lions roster are Kaden Rembold (7th), Olivia Radaker (8th), Riley Rinker (8th), Ella Aaron (9th), Colton Keihl (9th) Logan Leadbetter (11th), and managing stats,  Jessica McCracken (11th).

We are proud of the many accomplishments of our runners and their ability to showcase how running can be incorporated into our lives to promote self-care and healthy habits.

(Thank you to Coach Nicole Oakes for this article and to Diane Lutz for the images. Congratulations on all your accomplishments on the course and elsewhere C-L Lions’ Cross Country!!!!)