The Franklin County cross country team, under the direction of coach Kati-Morgan Hathcock and made up mainly of young runners, is off to a strong start.

At the Miller Landing Madness in Tallahassee Aug. 19, senior Genevieve Printiss paced the girls with a 23:50 time, followed by eighth grader Marlee Tucker with a 32:09; freshman Makayla Varner with a 38:00; sixth grader Laelah Carranza with a 38:04; seventh grader Brooklyn Freeman with a 53:51; and freshman Kiera Daniel with a 53:53.

For the boys, senior Simon Hodgson led with a 19:28, followed not far behind by junior Damien Freeman with a 23:12; freshman Francisco Juan with a 25:58; freshman Austin Gray with a 26:35; and sixth grader Ethan Kembro with a 27:55.

“I'm proud of everyone's efforts in the first race of the season,” said Hathcock.

In the Cougar Challenge in Tallahassee Aug. 26, Hodgson led the boys with a time of 20:03.69, followed by Freeman with a 23:23.13, Juan with 24:34.58; Gray with 26:50.98; and Kembro with 30:10.00.

Printiss again led the girls, with a 25:06.94, ahead of Tucker with 31:51.97; sixth grader Avery Pharr with 34:09.20; Lyndsey Stiefel with 35:16.39; Varner with 36:45.91; Janacia Bunyon with 39:00.60; and Daniel with 41:25.33.

“Marlee, Avery, Makayla, Kiera, Damien, and Francisco all improved on their times from last week, with personal records,” said Hathcock.

Also on the cross country roster are junior Jadien Hill, sophomore Lydia Strickland, freshman Eva Strickland, sixth graders Jessie Alday and Emily Patterson, and sophomore Kristisanna.