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Landrum to return several runners from 2009 state champion cross country teams

Landrum will be without some top runners from this years mens and womens state championship teams, but also will return several key runners as they look to defend their titles in 2010.

The men are now two-time state champions and the women stepped up from runner-up to take their first title this year.

The Landrum High cross country teams were celebrated with a local fire and law enforcement escort through the streets of downtown after adding another banner to the Cardinals collection of athletic achievements.

As the team got together prior to the season for a group picture under the pine trees near the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center, head coach Jeremy Darby seemed confident in his teams abilities.

Im confident we can duplicate every bit of success we had last year, he said.

His instincts proved to be right on the money.

Three male runners he mentioned as having large roles on the team this season were: JJ Carruth, and seniors Seth Kemp and Cody Ridley. All were 2009 all-state and all-region performers.

Carruth is a junior and an all-region and all-state runner for the past two years.

JJ was a key leader for the team all season long, said Darby. His running performances were always very consistent this season. Carruth placed second for the team at the state meet and 7th overall.”

Kemp is a six-year runner for the Landrum Cross Country team. During his career, he has spent about 95 percent of his time on varsity, Darby said. Seth is by far our smartest runner. He knows how to run negative mile splits and he knows how to truly race his competition. Kemp placed 4th for the team at the state meet and 11th overall.

Ridley, also an all-region and all-state runner, in addition to being a 2009 Shrine Bowl selection, was described as a first year phenom by Darby. Cody spent about 50 percent of the season finishing first for the team during the regular season. Ridley finished first for the team at the state meet and fourth overall. He was the highest placing senior at the Class A State Championship Meet, says Darby.

Prior to the season the Landrum coach spoke of three female runners in the same light: Alisha Belue, a senior Cardinal, and Samantha Waters and Sarah Cash.

Alisha ran as our sixth place girl for most of the season. This is a very critical position for a cross country team as sixth place determines tie-breakers and your competition’s score. She was very good about consistently improving her times at every meet this season, Darby said.

Waters, a freshman, was a 2008 and 2009 All State” selection; 2008 and 2009 All-Region” selection and 2009 Class A/AA Runner-Up.

Samantha is the lead runner for our girls team. She is a national elite runner; a title given to female runners who run the 5k under 20 minutes. She is a true competitor. Waters finished first on the team at the state meet and runner-up overall. said Darby. This means that she was the second finisher out of all runners in the entire meet, including all schools.

Cash is an eighth grader at Landrum Middle. She has twice won regional honors and was a 2009 all state runner.

Sarah is our go-to-girl and our sidekick to Samantha Waters. She is also a national elite runner We can always count on a solid performance out of Sarah. Cash finished second on the team at the state meet and 4th place overall. Cash was the first middle school finisher in the Class A/AA State Meet.