By Jeffery Armstrong
Morrow cross country harrier Tyson Bonner said he actually feels no pressure.
On Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 5 p.m., Bonner will prepare to defend his Clayton County cross country championship he earned last year. The 2004 county cross country meet will be held at the Atlanta Beach.
"I don't feel any extra pressure at all. I'm more excited about this year's county meet than I was during last year's meet," said Bonner, a senior. "I've got my running time down from last year and I should have a great chance to defend my title."
Bonner said he ran about 17:50 during last year's county meet and he's down to 16:52 now. Bonner, who admitted he runs cross country to get in better shape for spring track season, said his stiffest competition will come from the Lovejoy Wildcats boys team, the Atlanta Braves of the county meet.
The Lovejoy boys team has won the county meet for the last 13 years in a row.
"I'll be watching for anyone from Lovejoy on Tuesday," Bonner said. "They seem to always have the best times in the county."
Despite the fact that Lovejoy has won so many consecutive county meets, Bonner is confident he and his teammates can win next week.
"I believe my teammates will step up and take the team title this year," Bonner said. "In fact, we hope to do well this year at county in both cross country and track. I believe both titles are coming to Morrow this year."
Morrow senior harrier Tyshe Nester will not have teammates to support her next week. She will be the only girls team member at the county meet because the other girls had other commitments or they left the team.
"Having an entire team at county would be nice since other schools will have that, but I can't get upset about it," said Nester. "As a senior, I've got to make sure I focus on myself and do what I need to do to win."
Focus will be necessary for Nester, because she will be competing against several girls who run summer track with her, including Laide Onikoyi and Reneka Ezell of Mundy's Mill and Lonisha Lee of Lovejoy.
"It's weird that I will have to run against them, because we run together in summer track," Nester said. "But I've got to believe in myself and know that I can outrun them next week."
Morrow boys head coach Sam Pennypacker believes Bonner has a "reasonably good" chance of repeating as county cross country champ.
"He's really improved from last year," Pennypacker said.
The Eagle's Landing High boys and girls cross country teams won the Henry County meet last week. Sarah Orendorff of Eagle's Landing was the girls county champion while Kelsey Armstead of Stockbridge High won the boys county title.