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Junior high track teams break records

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By Rachel Christian

The Mount Vernon Junior High Boys and Girls Track teams wrapped up a season full of broken records and major wins last month.

Three out of the four teams (boys and girls seventh and eighth grade) had winning records overall. The seventh grade girls won their conference, and the eighth grade boys and girls teams both came in second at conference

The past season also shattered several school and conference records.

The eighth grade girls broke the school’s 4x100 meter relay record not once, but twice. The first time was at a home meet early in the season, with a time of 54:01, which they ended up beating with 53:06 during the final home meet of the year.
The seventh grade girls also broke the conference 4x100 meter relay time, and set the bar at 54:05.

Seventh grader River Snodgrass stood out during an already stellar season. His one-mile time of 4:48 demolished the school’s previous record, which had been held for over 30 years. The runner also broke a conference record time and the school record for the 800-meter.

The four teams are coached by Cammie Rodgers and Riley Snodgrass, a Mount Vernon alumnus and USI student.

Snodgrass ran track for the Wildcats, and was approached by a coach this year about coaching the junior high teams. As a secondary education minor and history major at USI, Snodgrass said he saw it as an opportunity to work with the age group he one day plans to teach.

“It’s been a really rewarding experience to coach them,” he said. “It’s a fun age group to work with.”

Snodgrass went on to say that seeing the young athletes’ commitment to the sport was impressive.

“They took it head on,” he said. “They powered through their workouts and did really well throughout the season as far as preparing themselves for their meets. I was really pleased with that.”

If the last name looks familiar, that’s because River and Riley Snodgrass are brothers. The older sibling said he was proud to see his brother succeed this year, but added that the family ties didn’t lead to any special treatment on the track.

“I honestly probably picked on him more than the other kids, but it was all in good fun,” he said. “I enjoyed seeing how much he progressed and seeing how hard he worked.”

Snodgrass said he plans to return as a junior high track coach next year, and is looking forward to watching the high school careers of his standout eighth graders – no matter what sports they decide to pursue.

“Unfortunately, some of the great talent this year is planning to play baseball in high school instead of track,” he said. “It bums me out, but at the same time, they are great kids and great athletes that I hope do well no matter what sport they choose.”