By BENJAMIN BAUGH
The Lady Tarpons cross-country team placed 11th in the field of 24 teams at States last fall, finishing only 1:50 behind sixth place finisher Niceville.
And although the makeup of the roster will be different this coming season, losing Alexa Roughton, Victoria Simeone and Sydney Rodetsky to graduation. Charlotte will be anchored by two talented runners, senior MacKenzie Flowers and junior Aleecia Collins.
“This season is going to be a challenge that we’re looking forward to, with those two at the helm (Flowers and Collins), I think we have two good experienced runners coming back to lead us,” said Chris Robishaw, Charlotte Tarpons girls cross-country coach. “And then, we’re going to do our best with the remaining core to get them as good as we can.”
This year’s roster will be smaller than in previous years, so the demands of the schedule during the early going, will provide ample opportunity for the Lady Tarpons to establish themselves.
Flowers’ and Collins’ experience will be critical variables going forward for the Lady Tarpons, and their knowledge of what they need to do in preparation for each meet, their leadership and character will provide a source of inspiration for the team’s younger members, serving as the impetus for another successful season.
“To have those two back, means a lot,” said Robishaw. “They lead by example out at practice. We have four or five others I think who will follow their lead. But we all have a long way to go. I’ve already explained to them that this is going to be a different type of season than the last number of years, every now and then, with a lot of that success, you have to take a step back., evaluate some things.”
The start of the season brings a great deal of excitement, providing a barometer going forward as the athletes progress and improve as the season goes on, said Robishaw.
“To be on varsity, those other runners are going to have to earn their way up,” said Robishaw. “I think that they can. I think it’s just going to take some time.”