Sherlock Holmes once said, “Elementary, my dear Watson.”
In other words, it’s pretty simple.
At least that’s how the Campbell County elementary cross-country teams made it look on Monday evening at Cove Lake.
“I think what a lot of people forget is that running is a natural thing,” head coach Anne Browning said. “It’s a very natural activity, especially for children. They don’t know at that point in their life that they have limits. They just run like their hair’s on fire.”
It’s especially natural for two third graders.
Riley Faulkner has been impressive thus far this season. In Monday’s race, he took the top position, running the little over a mile course in 7:07. However, it’s not been his first race of the season.
So far this season, racing against fourth and fifth graders as well, Faulkner has run three races. Three races and three victories is impressive for such a young runner.
“I can’t even begin to describe it,” Browning said. “People from other teams want to know how old he is because they are impressed. They’re kind of shocked when they find out he’s just a third grader, but they’re not a bit surprised when they find out his last name is Faulkner.”
Macy Caldwell has also had a good year as a third grader. At Cove Lake, she took a third place finish on the tough course.
Thus far this season, Caldwell has finished her three races with first, second and third place performances. For Browning, it’s impressive for her age.
“Always in the top five,” Browning said. “You can’t ask for any better.”
Shae Berry was the only other top 20 finisher at the Cove Lake race, coming in right behind Caldwell in fourth place. She finished the course at 7:57, while Caldwell paced a 7:44.
The boys had four runners place in the top 25. Faulkner’s first place finish was followed by Patrick Moore in ninth position. Moore paced a 7:43, while Ryland Ford (18th, 8:10) and Joseph Howard (23rd, 8:14) ran a solid race.
Those finishes are even more impressive, seeing as how the race was longer than the youngsters usually run.
“This course was longer,” Browning said. “It was about two tenths of a mile longer, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re running fast, it is. It was a little longer and a little more challenging for them, but they did a great job.”
However, the teams had possibly an even better performance at the Victore Ashe Park Fall Classic on Saturday. Between the two teams, Campbell County found 11 top 25 finishers.
For the girls, Caldwell took the first place spot with a 6:19, as Berry paced a fourth place finish at 6:46. Jordyn Amburgey (7:46) finished fourteenth, while Sophia Fritz (8:12) took the eighteenth position. Madison Burris (19th, 8:13), Madison Hill (22nd, 8:40), Faith Franklin (27th, 9:24) and Kayla Davis (29th, 9:56) all had good races for the Cougars.
Riley Faulkner took the first place finish with his season best 5:41. Moore’s fourth place finish came in at 6:17, while Ford grabbed the eighth place spot at 6:33. Howard finished 14th with 6:58, while Jack Leach (19th, 7:20), Tadd Thomas (26th, 8:51) and Tyler Thomas had good races.
Racing on the soon-to-be state championship course, Browning sees high hopes for her young runners. With Faulkner and Caldwell consistently pulling top finishes, they have high chances.
“They definitely have a possibility of winning [the state championship],” Browning said. “We have the toughest region. If they stay at the top of that region, they have the possibility to be state champs.”