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Track team rewarded for season's efforts

The JCHS track and field team celebrated another successful season last week at their annual banquet hosted in the county Crewette building. Following a meal of tacos, nachos, and baked potatoes, Coach Penny Gentry led the way with this year’s awards ceremony.
Beginning by thanking the students and parents for their dedication to the program and determination to improve, Gentry recognized each athlete individually. Several students were away with summer activities, but there were still more than a dozen in attendance and Gentry spoke about the impact and role that each athlete played. According to Gentry, with such a wide variety of events to compete in, Johnson County was blessed to have a lot of success this year despite only competing in a limited number of meets.
Highlighting just how hard many of the athletes worked, Gentry was proud to point out that the Longhorns had more than half a dozen qualifiers for the state sectionals meet in Knoxville. Only Andy Rosado actually got to make the trip, finishing in the top 10 for the men’s triple jump. Seniors Patrick South, Kenneth Brown, and Colton Phillips were eligible competing in the 4×1 relay and men’s shot-put, but opted not to compete because of a scheduling conflict with the high school’s senior activities. Lastly, J.R. Speed was poised to move on and compete in the men’s 100-meter dash but suffered a knee injury that knocked him out of the running, both proverbially and literally.
Even with this adverse end to the year, Gentry was quick to point out the difficulty and skill necessary to surpass so many talented opponents and reach even that far. Medals were presented to each of the sectionals qualifiers, but there were several other individual awards presented as well. Stephanie Coffey and Dante Bolognese were chosen to receive the team’s Longhorn Awards, honoring both their dedication and dependability. The Coach’s award was given to Patrick South who has continuously proven himself a leader among his peers and a huge source of support for his teammates.
The last award went to Andy Rosado as the team MVP. Showing one of the most consistently determined performances of the season, Rosado has become best known for his jumping abilities, but has also filled in just about anywhere he was needed, and like many of his teammates has developed a reputation for keeping a positive attitude. By its nature, track is generally considered an individualist sport, yet through their friendship and willingness to help each other reach new goals and become the best athlete they can be, Johnson County’s program has truly become a team.  With that in mind, regardless of whether on the track or off, Gentry was most proud of the students’ maturity and professional attitudes, leading her to point out that as a whole “we represented Johnson County well.”