Vols run at AAA State cross country meet

A.J. Willard

Staff Writer

Coach Jordan Graham has watched his cross country team at Starkville Academy grow and mature during the course of the season.

He looks forward to seeing how his young squad will perform Tuesday at the AAA State meet at Choctaw Trails in Clinton.

It has been a building process for the Vols, but Graham likes the talent coming up.

"We've got a lot of young talent so we're still building and we've got a lot of good ninth graders," Graham said. "On the boys side, we're not quite there to be able compete with the top schools, but they do have some of the top times in the state in their age group, so that's been a positive."

A.J. Willard is one of the Starkville Academy seniors Graham will count on for a good performance today. Willard has achieved some of the top times in AAA this year and Graham expects another good run from him at the state meet.

"We're looking to him to finish out his cross country career on a good note," Graham said. "I think he'll be able to compete.

"We've got a lot of good senior leadership on the boys with two or three good seniors who have really stepped in."

The Lady Vols lack in depth, but Graham said they make up for that with effort.

"Our girls run real hard, but numbers wise we are kind of on the low end," Graham said. "They are competing really hard, but in the grand scheme of things we're not as competitive as we could be if we had more girls out there."

The AAA State meet begins at 1:30 p.m.