Athletes hit the track
With a talented veteran group of boys, the Franklin County boys’ track team is poised for a successful season. Pictured here from left to right, seniors D.J. Samuels, Kuamii Gandy, and A.J. Blackwell battle against one another in the 100-meter, during a recent practice.
—Staff Photo by Evan Harris
Since the start of the New Year, any given person would have better odds at a roulette table, rather than accurately predicting the day-to-day weather.
Despite the sometimes icy and chilly weather, Franklin County High School’s track team has taken to the track to prepare for the upcoming season which is just one month away.
Athletes may just now be practicing on the track, but preparations for the season have been in the works for much longer.
When open season began, last semester in the fall, track athletes received conditioning help from high school teacher Amanda Green.
Green helped prepare the team by running CrossFit workouts.
Lee Brannon returns to coach the team this year for the first time in five years, and is excited about the team’s potential.
“I think we have some talent out here, we’re going to look good.” Brannon said at a recent practice.
Two men who have had a lot of recent success in the youth track circuit, Thad Blackwell and Zack Norwood, will assist Brannon in coaching the team.
Both Norwood and Blackwell coach a youth Track team, the Tennessee Cheetahs. Each brings years of experience, and coach Brannon is excited to have them.
Although some of the athletes began conditioning in the fall, a majority of the team is just now getting into the fold with other sports like basketball coming to an end.
Several Rebelette basketball players joined the team to help make a very young, but athletic girls group.
Coach Brannon mentioned the youth of the girls group, but also expressed his excitement about their talent level and natural ability.
Brannon had originally planned to begin practice in early January, but with the onslaught of snow, ice, and freezing weather, those plans were put on hold.
The first official practice on the track was February 10 th , which puts the team a little behind.
“Without a doubt, we are a little behind.” Brannon said of the team’s overall conditioning.
While the girls are overall very young on the team, the boys are led by a group of veteran’s, who should have a great season.
Of that boys group, coach Brannon names two guys who should each have success this year. Tim Farris was one of those athletes Brannon mentioned.
Farris had an outstanding year last year, particularly in the long jump.
“He probably jumps somewhat without the proper techniques, but hopefully we can work on that and he will do well.” Brannon said of the things Farris can work on.
Also mentioned by Brannon was senior A.J. Blackwell. Most Franklin County sports fans know Blackwell as the speedy running back for the rebels. Blackwell flashes his incredible speed on the track, and is poised for a great season.
Overall the boy’s group is talented, and Brannon is excited about the potential of the boy’s relay team.
The team will be represented in some of the distance running by Eric Shull, who coach Brannon also mentioned as a great asset to the team.
Off the track, three boys, and one girl in the discus and shot put will represent the team. Junior veteran Vance Pitcuh leads the otherwise green group.
With the team’s first official meet less than a month away, April 1 st at Saint Andrews, a lot of work has to be done.
The coaches will get a good gauge of the team this upcoming Tuesday, as they travel over to Tullahoma High School for a practice meet, beginning at 3:30.