Alan Peoples knew 2016 would be a rebuilding season for a Polk County cross country program hit hard by graduation.
And while that’s largely proved true, Peoples couldn’t be more excited about the future of both the girls and boys programs.
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Polk County will compete Saturday in the 2A West Regional at Freedom Park in Morganton. Both Wolverine squads enter the event as the 16th-seeded teams, and while a finish high enough to earn a team qualification for the state 2A championships may not be in the offing, Peoples still has high hopes for the day.
“I’d like to be in the top 10,” said the long-time head coach. “The region is loaded this year. For example, the first 40 runners or so in the boys field are in the 17s and 18s (minutes for 3.1 miles). It’s going to be a good race to see, for sure.
“When you get as many PRs (personal records) as we’ve gotten this year, you’ve had a good year. We’re awfully young. But I think we’ve had 20 of 24 runners set a PR this year. That’s a good year.”
One of the few seniors in the program, India Godlock, will have the best shot of any Wolverine to qualify for state competition. A three-time Western Highlands Conference champion, including each of the past two years, Godlock placed fifth at last year’s state meet.
“I think India is going to qualify for state,” Peoples said. “She’s seeded seventh, and I think she’ll get out.”
Evan Dadson and Caleb Potter are expected to be among Polk County’s top boys.
The top four teams in the regional will qualify for the 2A state meet Nov. 5 in Kernersville. The top seven individuals not on one of those teams will also advance.