By Brian Hoffman
The Salem High cross country team will get a look at the Region 4D course when the Spartans run in a meet at Blacksburg High School this Saturday. Salem will run in the “High School Boys & Girls Open 5K” at 11 am.
The meet is a late addition to the schedule and replaces a meet at Radford University that was originally on Salem’s schedule. Salem boys’ coach Tom Roth decided to run in Blacksburg because this is the only chance his runners will have to see the region course before the Region 4D race.
“Since we do not have a district meet, our focus is always on the regional meet,” said Roth. “This is the only way to qualify for the state meet, as the top three teams and five more individuals from each region will go to states.”
The Salem girls will have five of their top seven runners returning this fall, including Elizabeth Bocock and Brooke Bowers who both qualified for states last year. Joining them again this fall are Ryan Long, Claire Rawlins and Callie Conner. Pawel Nazarewicz and Elliot Petry are sharing the coaching duties for the girls.
Four of the top six from last years’ boys team return, Walker Peterson, Carson Tucker, Lance Toapanta and Zane Easter. Two new team members, Phillip French and Rick Rawlins, have worked hard this summer and should contribute to the team as well.
The region will once again feature several of the top teams in the state, including Blacksburg, Western Albemarle and Jefferson Forest.