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SPORTS TAB: In it for the long haul

Local Editor | September 15, 2021 7:00 AM

The Kellogg High School Mental Toughness Team, sorry…, the cross country team is off to another busy season.

Jeff Smith has been coaching at KHS for nearly a decade, he’s taken countless individual athletes to the state meet, but his team is still looking for those elusive team championships.

That may be changing this year, with more than 20 kids signed up to run for him, Smith is looking at his most complete team in years.

“We have the previous two years' middle school district champs,” Smith said. “So we are looking for a state bid.”

Last year, Makai Peak medaled for the boys at the state meet as a freshman, so building off that is a good place for the program as Coach Smith hopes that seeing that success attracts younger kids.

This almost directly correlates to the teams’ strengths and weaknesses.

“We have a lot of great attitudes and work ethic,” Smith said. “But we also have a good number of newer runners who aren't used to the miles yet. We are shooting to win districts and this year we are in a better position than in any year I have coached so far.”

The goal is to cut times off from his experienced runners, while finding those sweet spots for the newcomers.

Smith is also excited to have a full girls team for the season, which is something he hasn’t really had the opportunity to experience.