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WCHS cross country coach says this year's team should be strong
Fun Run - Ann Hunter Myers.jpg
Anne Hunter Myers, 42, added another Stars and Stripes Fun Run victory to her resume on Saturday. She was the first female to finish in 20:48.
Fun Run - Alec Smith.jpg
The Warren County High School cross country team includes speedy Alec Smith, who was the third Fun Run finisher Saturday at 18:58.

Some things are a tradition at the Fourth of July celebration in downtown McMinnville.

Pancakes on Court Square. The Silver and Gold Band. And Anne Hunter Myers as the first female finisher in the Stars and Stripes 5K Fun Run.

Myers was the first female across the line again on Saturday, finishing the course in 20:48.

“I was really pleased with my time,” said Myers. “My emphasis has been on much longer runs, half marathons and marathons. I haven’t done much training for the shorter distances. So to come in at under 21 minutes, I’m really pleased with that.”

Myers is the perennial female winner of the Fun Run, but she stopped short of revealing exactly how many times she has won the race.

“That’s really for other people to keep up with,” said Myers. “I’m just glad to participate. I always want to support local events whenever I can, like this race and the Viola Valley Half Marathon.”

Myers says she’s been fortunate to stay healthy and avoid injuries, which has enabled her to maintain a training regimen of 50 to 60 miles a week. 

“I do a long run on the weekends,” said Myers. “I ran 14.5 miles yesterday and I’ll work up to 20 miles. I’ll also do some hill work and tempo sessions.”

High School

Cross Country

Myers does most of her training in the mornings before heading to work at Warren County High School, where she is a teacher and the cross country coach. Like all school sports, the cross country team is currently abiding by the TSSAA dead period with plans to resume practice next week.

Myers says the team does conditioning work Monday through Thursday, which includes miles and stretching.

“We should have some good times in the fall,” said Myers. “Last year with COVID, we didn’t get to run as many of the bigger competitive races as I would have liked. This year we plan to be in those races and face some of the best competition in the Midstate.”

Myers expects the team to be led by Alec Smith, a senior. He finished third overall in Saturday’s Fun Run with a time of 18:58.

“He’s been a standout performer and he’s faster than he was on Saturday,” said Myers, indicating Alec is getting over an injury.

The cross country team will also be bolstered by speedy Emma Randall, who was the No. 2 female finisher behind Myers in the Fun Run with a time of 23:24.

“Hopefully we’ll have some runners who want to move on and compete at the collegiate level,” said Myers. “I want that to be something they realize is an option for them. Our program can get them ready to run at the collegiate level if that’s something they want to do.”