By Matt Hill
Its been a tough chore for area athletes once they had to compete against kids west of here, but a new program by Johnson County High School alum Adam Cranford will hopefully change that.
The Winning Edge has been going on at the Johnson County High School Track this summer with up to 12 people participating.
The Program meets twice a week and so far has been a big success.
We love coming here because they push each other and put their heart on the line, Cranford said. They work so hard and have gotten so much better in such a short amount of time.
Cranford does a lot of work with kids in Washington and Carter Counties, but really sees the dedication here.
We love what we see out of these guys, Cranford said. They push each other and have a willingness to learn and get better. They didnt know there was so much to running and being a better athlete. Theyve run with it. Weve cleaned up their motor mechanics in what they do when they run.
Cranford says hes trying to elevate every schools athletic program.
Were trying to elevate the competition level for Northeast Tennessee so that once they get past Knoxville were not getting crushed because this is what those teams have been doing for years and years. Championships are won in the off-season. Alcoa, the team that beat Elizabethton, won that state title 10 years ago and when other teams just show up for a two-a-days thats why they get crushed because they work harder and they dont have any respect for them. Were trying to elevate the game for the entire area and its catching on fast. The parents are really pleased and the kids are really pleased.
Theres more to conditioning than just running a lap around the track and Cranford is trying to hammer that home with the kids.
When I say conditioning I dont mean just give me five laps, Cranford said. Were going to clean up their form and get their motor mechanics working right and you can see after the first day there a better runner.
The runners have been doing sprint work, agility work and trying to get the upper body in sink.
The first day the athletes are filmed and then Cranford starts cleaning up their running.
They didnt know there was so much to the science of running, Cranford said. Theres a whole lot more to it than just running. Thats what other places have been doing, were just getting everybody up to speed here.
Cranford enjoys working with kids from Johnson County and says they are very hard workers.
Its like a vacation when I come down here and I love how these kids push each other. Most places Im pushing them, but theyre pushing each other.
Cranford hopes to have this program grow and continue through the years.
It looks like its off to a great start.
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