The Clayton-Bradley Academy High School Cross Country season starts tonight at The University Of Tennessee's Cherokee Farms in Knoxville. The girls run at 7pm and the boys at 730pm. The Blazers have had smaller numbers the past few years, but that has changed this upcoming season with experienced 8th graders becoming high schoolers and newcomers to the roster. Head Coach Sarah Bollschweiler enters her 6th year for the Middle and High School teams and she is more excited than ever for this program entering 2021, "The most impressive things about our high school team this year are that we have our largest girls team ever and that we have our fastest boys team ever, in that four of five of our High School boys qualified for state in Middle School." All three upcoming Freshmen boys made it to state last year, in Bentley Larsen, Grayson Steinbach and Lyle Webster. The boys also return experienced Sophomore Brennan Steinbach and welcome in Sophomore Dustin Henderlight. On the girls side, Senior Hannah Rasmussen returns to lead the way and they have new runners of multi sport athletes, Sophomore Ava Graves and Junior Addie Rittenhouse, with the addition of Sophomore Charlotte Bollschweiler as well.
Newcomer Sophomore Dustin Henderlight has been a runner for years. He shared his thoughts on what joining the team has been like and what he is looking forward to, "Our pre season has been nothing short of the expected. We have been pushing ourselves and our teammates to prepare for the season. Coach Bollschweiler has a lot of background with running and has some great points and perspectives to share with the team. She is also very understanding and puts everyone's health over everything else. My main goal for the season is to go sub 19 minutes in a 5K race. But more importantly I focused on engaging the program in a culture that emphasizes not just individual achievements, but team achievements as well. Our team is growing. We are young, but we are improving and growing."
For the ladies, newcomer Sophomore Ava Graves shared her thoughts on joining the team. As a multi sport athlete she believes this is great for her, "The pre season has been a great endurance and conditioning build up. Coach Bollschweiler has been a wonderful support. She has helped us grow in many different ways and I really look up to her. My personal goals for the season are to become a stronger athlete overall. I see our team as being a strong unified force."
Come out and watch these 5 boys and 4 girls run their best 5K's around East Tennessee this season. They will be fun to watch.