A new dynasty could be forming in the county after Cherokee again swept the county track and field titles under coach Georgy Anderson.
Anderson got the Warriors back on top during her first season, but the Warriors had a chance to show their solid base this season and once again locked up the county’s best finishes at the state meet.
“We expected to do what we did,” said Anderson, the 2019 Cherokee Tribune Boys Track and Field Coach of the Year. "We wanted to win county again. That was a good one for us. What we saw happen different this year was just the beginning of a good, strong base.”
Anderson credited youth club director Camille Driscoll with keeping the program full of young talent, but it also took work from that athletes. That work starts at the lower levels, and when it carries up to the JV and varsity levels, Anderson said it makes all the difference.
“Over the summer, they got after it heavy,” Anderson said. “Almost all of our kids were doing something or had a program in place in the summer. You can’t come to practice starting in January thinking you’ll be ready. The mental game and the physical game all start before that. The kids who do well in the season have been working during the offseason, and I think the other athletes have seen the difference that makes.”
The first goal for Cherokee this season was to defend both county titles. Then, after that was taken care of, attention turned to the state meet.
After sending a county-leading 16 athletes to the state meet last season, Cherokee sent only nine this spring, but that did not result in a worse finish. Instead, the Warriors had both of the county’s best results -- 11th in the girls standings and 19th in the boys.
“This year, we had fewer go to state,” Anderson said. “We had better performances, though. Six kids placed this year in state. Three of those six were on the podium twice. We had nine events we placed in. That was phenomenal.”
Of the six athletes who scored at the state meet this year, five were making a return trip to the state meet.
Anderson credited the improved showing to the experience gained last year and the increased workload it led to this year.
“It was less scary and more understood,” she said. “They knew they could come back and do even better. It’s just a new level of confidence. It seems obtainable. There’s a level of calmness.”
Cherokee’s depth will be tested once again next season as it looks to replace another strong group of seniors, including five college-bound athletes. Anderson said expectations will not be lowered, though, now that the next generation has an example of how to succeed.
“Even though we’re losing a good group of seniors, we think we have some good athletes coming up to take their place,” Anderson said. “They have some big shoes to fill, but I think we have a group who can do it. They’ve seen what it takes now, so they know they can do it.”