Morrow coach Anthony McKissic said his team is anxious and ready to see how it will do at today’s Clayton County Cross Country Championship meet. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
MORROW — Morrow cross country coach Anthony McKissic did a little upgrade in his team’s schedule for this season.
Today, the Mustangs will see if it was worth their coach’s effort to run them against some top competition.
Morrow will participate in today’s Clayton County Cross Country Championship, and looks to up-seed Forest Park. Last season, the Panthers swept the boys and girls titles, with Morrow finishing runner-up on the boys side.
“We have been doing a lot of training and going out and competing against some top teams,” Morrow sophomore Cameron Pack said. “This has really opened up our eyes.”
The Mustangs did a tune-up for the county meet on Saturday at the Asics Cross Country Championship at Fox Hall Farms Sports Club in Douglasville. The meet wa hosted by Alexander High.
Morrow runner Austin Gray finished 11th out of 215 runners in the Class AAAAAA/AAAAA meet with a time of 16 minutes, 51 seconds.
“They had some elite runners in that race,” McKissic said. “I think it was a good showing by him.”
Now, he is hoping for a good representation at the county meet.
“I’m feeling real confident about the boys’ training coming into the meet,” he said. “After a beefed up schedule, especially on the boys side, I’m anxious to see how we will do.”
McKissic said there is no pressure on his team to perform well at the county meet.
“If we do have some pressure, it is coming from within our team,” McKissic said. “I think the boys want to get that monkey off their back and do well. We want some bragging rights when it comes to the county meet. These kids have ran against each other all year, and they have known each other since middle school.”
Morrow is trying to get back to the state meet. The Region 2-AAAAAA meet will be on Nov. 2 in DeKalb County, which will be hosted by Druid Hills.
“We have a real strong region, and that has been our focus,” McKissic said. “Our first chore is to run in the county to see who is the best in Clayton County. We then have to turn our attention to our region because we want to get back to Carrollton to see how we do against some of the best teams in the state.”
The runners say the upgrade in schedule has taken the fear factor out of going back to state where the team didn’t fare too well last year.
“Our schedule has helped us see the different competition out there,” Morrow junior Courtland White said. “We have gained a lot of confidence and courage when it comes to competing in our region.”