Person cross country coach Morgan Meyer said goodbye to several key runners that helped take her team to the regionals a year ago.
But an influx of freshmen coupled with veteran returners brings optimism for the 2019 season.
“We’re a little smaller this year, but we did get several freshmen in which is good,” Meyer said. “Everyone else has come back, expect the seniors, which is good. We’re a smaller team, but we’ll still be pretty good because we have a lot of our returning runners and we’re hopeful for the freshmen.”
The Rocket boys squad are coming off a second place finish in the traditionally-tough Mid-State Conference and earned a berth to regionals as a team. Person will have to replace some key runners from that team, most notably Zion Hughes, Justin Breeze and Logan Bates, but have some experienced performers returning.
Will Bailey is back after a strong junior season that culminated with a top-80 finish in the 3A Mideast Regionals. Rising seniors Demetre Morton, Cameron Whitman and Colton Fox are also expected to be leaned on for strong finishes this season.
All four of the returning seniors were also distance runners for the Rockets’ track team last spring.
“I think those guys are going to be really strong and push each other this year. They’ve been on the team since they were freshmen and we’re looking for big things for them.”
The Rockets girls’ team lost senior Magen Elliott after an outstanding four-year running career in cross country and track and will be looking for juniors Payton Price and Taylor Sullivan to lead a young squad.
Sullivan is also a key player on the Rockets’ softball team, earning all-conference honors and is already garnering attention from college coaches.
Meyer expects both team to be right in the hunt in the conference this year.
“We finished second in the conference last year,” Meyer said. “I don’t know if we’ll quite be up there this year, but I think we’ll be able to finish top-three. We’re going to be pretty competitive this year and I’m hoping we’ll be able to take the team to regionals again. Last year was the first time we did that, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to do that again this year and just make a presence there and show them that Person is a competitive team.”
The Rockets open the season with tri-meets in the first two weeks against Roxboro Community School and Eno River Academy at Mayo Lake Park before opening conference competition Sept. 24 at McMichael for a Mid-State Conference race.
Northeast Guilford and Rockingham County will be joining Person and McMichael in the Mid-State Conference opening meet.