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Banquet Held Honoring 2020 Clarion-Limestone Lions Cross Country Team (Posted 11/19/20)

(Photos courtesy of Missie Rankin) Above: Corbin Coulson, Ty Rankin, Braden Rankin ~ All-Conference runners

(By Coach Nicole Oakes)

2020 wasn’t the year we had all planned.

Plans were put on pause and normal was no longer mundane but something we all dreamed of. The season was different, practices, meets, cancelled invitationals, team bonding, and lessons all altered, but despite it all, LION CROSS COUNTRY 2020 ran on, and we chose to focus on the positive.

This is the message that was displayed and referred to multiple times during the banquet and celebration of athletes held for the Clarion Limestone Cross Country team on Sunday November 15, at Pisgah’s community center.  As we inched closer and closer to the date we had set aside to celebrate all of the successes of the season, the spirit of 2020 raged again and many of our athletes and families were unable to attend due to COVID restrictions. Additionally, storms running through the area earlier in the day resulted in power outages and threatened to damper our plans, but ever resilient, Lions Cross Country ran on. 

The message that we always hope to portray to our team is that each one is valuable to the success of the team, and that their efforts all season are noticed and appreciated. None of us are under the impression that every kid deserves a trophy but we firmly acknowledge that our slowest runners are just as important as our fastest runners. The Lions Cross Country team puts a big emphasis on acknowledging and cultivating positive character traits. Athletes were acknowledged for achieving the goals that they had set for themselves and goals that they adjusted and extended as the season progressed, with 90% of the runners achieving at least one, if not all three of their personal goals they set this season. Students that were able to use communication, and planning skills to successfully participate in multiple sports and activities were also acknowledged. We are proud to say we have athletes also representing Varsity Golf, Varsity Soccer, Marching Band, Jr. High Football and Jr. High girl’s basketball. One of the favorite parts of the evening was when the results of the superlative voting was revealed, with teammates being recognized for such silly things as; best hair ~ Logan Leadbetter, most likely to become president ~ Cody Whitling , and honorable things such most encouraging ~ Morgan McNaughton, most improved ~ Logan Meier, and most importantly, team leader ~ Braden Rankin. 

(L-R) Ty Rankin, Colton Keigh and Jack Craig receiving their first varsity letters

Of course we did take time to recognize the athletic success we saw this season, despite the obstacles that COVID placed in our path. Lions Cross Country, is beyond proud, of the three All- Conference athletes: Braden Rankin ~ 1st team, and Corbin Coulson and Ty Rankin ~ 2nd team. As a team, our Varsity boys finished second in the KSAC and third in D9.  We had nine athletes earn Varsity Letters on Sunday night, and on the junior high end we acknowledged our stand out, Logan Lutz, that set our new course record at CL as well as broke the standing record at Clarion County Park… and we would guess maybe a few other places. 

Overall, it was a great night of celebration, that the kids deserved. There were many smiles and a few tears as we looked back at all of the memories formed this season and bid our departing senior, and outstanding leader, Braden Rankin, good luck in his next endeavours. 

 We have some amazing athletes on the Lions Cross Country team, but each of them are even better people. We know that they are going to continue impacting our community for the better in years to come.

(Thanks to Coach Nicole Oakes for this article and to Missie Rankin for her photos. Congratulations on a great season, Lions Cross Country!!!!)