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With hard work and determination, the Grant County High School boys’ cross country team have become a team to be taken seriously.
That is due in part to the efforts of the seniors, who have spent their high school careers working to put the Braves in position to succeed for years to come. Each senior started running because they were inspired by a relative, except for Dustin Sullivan, who had another reason all together.
“I ran because I was chubby, so I joined,” Sullivan said.
“I went to eighth grade registration and coach started talking to me. My stepdad used to do it and I thought it would be cool,” Brandon McIntosh said.
“I looked up to my cousin back in the day and wanted to run and be like him,” Jeffrey Covington said.
“I did it because my dad did it in high school,” Devin Smith said.
“My brother ran when he was in high school so he kind of got me into it,” Aaron Jump said.
The Braves have represented Grant County the past two years at state, going as a team. This year, they placed second at the regional meet, bringing home a trophy for the first time since the late 1980s.
“It’s been 20 years. It’s an achievement,” Sullivan said.
“It’s school history, so that’s pretty awesome,” McIntosh said.
“We proved a lot by going to state,” Smith said.
“It was cool knowing we’re one of the top teams in our region and we’re not just a fluke. We can go and challenge people,” Covington said.
Being a part of a successful middle school program, the seniors were glad to find success again in high school. They’ve seen the program grow in numbers and respect from other teams.
“I thought it was cool to watch the team we had in middle school grow up and become dominant again. We’re competing with top teams,” Smith said.
“We have a lot more depth now. A lot of the kids see how well we’re doing and they want to be a part of something great, which makes our team even better,” Jump said.
“The program has improved a lot. Since we made it last year, everyone’s gained so much confidence and everyone works hard in practice,” Covington said. “Coach (Marlon Kinsey) won’t take the credit, but he should get a lot of it. He spends a lot of time with us and researches a lot,” Covington said.
“He’ll talk to anyone about running. He wants people to be a part of the team,” McIntosh said.
With their success, the seniors also have advice for those who will continue in the program.
“Train in the off-season. Stay confident. Everyone has bad races,” McIntosh said.
“Try your best. Leave it all on the course. Just try, try, try,” Sullivan said.
“Take advantage of every chance you get. You’ll miss it when it’s over,” Smith said.
“You’ve got to have fun because otherwise it’s not worth it. You’ve got to like what you’re doing,” Jump said.
“Don’t get down on yourself. You’ve got to want it,” Covington said. “I’m going to miss being with this team. It was fun and I’m going to miss bugging coach.”