Posted: Thursday, 08 August 2013 6:38PM

Lebanon cross country getting an influx of talent

Lebanon, Mo. (For  -- With a strong core of runners returning and an exciting incoming freshman class on the way, things are looking up this summer for the Lebanon High School cross country program.

Head coach Teresa Moore said 30-40 athletes have been meeting each day at 6:30 a.m. at the high school for early morning runs, and the team will begin two-a-days next week, running both in the morning and late afternoons.

Moore said the girls’ team will return three key runners from last season. Senior Hannah Calhoun returns after battling injury last season, Cheyenne Black (sophomore) and Janessa Richardson (junior) are back, too.

And, Moore will add a trio of talented incoming freshmen in Wynter Nekola, Maddie O’Connor and Kelsey Winfrey.

“It is going to be a young team, but hopefully, we are going to be able to compete,” Moore said. “I know Wynter and Kelsey have ran several 5k’s and the times that they have ran would have qualified them for state the last couple of years.”

Lebanon did not have a senior last season and will likely return its entire varsity team except for Chanler Payne, who recently moved to Columbia.

On the boys’ side, senior Regan Wilson returns, as does Oakley Banks, Hunter Sawyers, Tharron Roy and Devon Jeffries.

Moore said she is also looking forward to several other runners competing once practice officially opens on Aug. 12. The team will continue two-a-days before taking a week off prior to the start of practice.

Wilson returns after advancing to a Missouri Class 4 sectional last season. Wilson is recovering from hernia surgery, but Moore said he has returned to full strength and has been putting in miles during the summer.

"He has really been working hard," Moore said.

Wilson has been training with Tony Bennett, who has put in more than 250 miles this summer, sophomore Hunter Sawyers, and newcomer Therron Roy. Moore said she expects Roy to challenge Wilson for the top spot on the varsity this fall.

Last season, several runners battled injuries, including Calhoun and Richardson.

"It was a rough year, but everybody is looking strong right now," Moore said.

Nekola, who recently competed in the AAU Junior Olympics in the 800-meter run, will likely miss time due to a stress fracture in her hip.

"She'll be out for a while, but other than that everybody is looking good and getting in lots of miles," Moore said.

Cheyenne Black, sophomore, returns, and was among the Yellowjackets leading runners lasts season as a freshman.

"She ended up being a leader for us last year and hopefully she'll be able to continue to improve this year," Moore said.

Moore has high hopes for a talented incoming freshman class and said things are looking up in the junior high ranks as well.

Moore said several runners from the seventh and eighth-grade program have run through the summer and have run alongside the high school kids.

"We've got girls there that have gone to camps and never missed a day," Moore said. "There are a lot of kids that are excited about running. If you get the kids excited, it just grows."

Photo Galleries

Pictures: Best of 2013-14 Skyline Tigers

Catch the best photos from the 2013-14 Skyline athletic year.

Pictures: Branson Team Football Camp

Catch photos from Branson's Team Football Camp featuring Aurora, Catholic, Hollister, Mount Vernon, Mountain Grove, Neosho, Reeds Spring and Willow Springs.

Pictures: Best of 2013-14 Rogersville Wildcats

Catch the best photos from the 2013-14 Rogersville athletic year.
O-Zone Opinion
Mohawk Chronicles: Oklahoma the right choice for Dorial Green-Beckham
Dorial Green-Beckham is now an Oklahoma Sooner. If you're scratching your head right now, you're not alone. Yes, DGB will have to sit out the entire 2014 season, something that he wouldn't have had to do had he transferred to a FCS or D-2, but is...
Read More
Mohawk Chronicles: Ozark Conference 7v7 Football recap
For the third summer in a row Kickapoo hosted the Ozark Conference 7v7 Tournament. Here is a recap from the 3rd annual event. The Champs are here For the first time in the 3-year history of the Ozark Conference 7-on-7 Tournament someone...
Read More
The future is now for local soccer
We’re graduating a great crop of senior soccer players this spring. Anywhere from 15-25 will not only contend for all-state honors once the season is over, but also keep playing in college next school year. So, who replaces some of those top...
Read More
Most Viewed