Cross country duo

Providence Christian's Grace Crim, left, and Enterprise's Tyler Rathburn have earned the Dothan Eagle girls and boys cross country runner of the year accolades for 2019.

Grace Crim

Providence Christian School

2019 Girls Cross Country Runner of Year

Background: Crim was a junior for the Providence Christian cross country team and head coach Cliff Carter. She was in her fourth year running for the Eagles. She captured the Dothan Eagle girls cross country runner of the year for the second straight season.

Numbers: In seven races, Crim earned five times below 21 minutes, including a 19:33.84 time at the TCBY Invitational in Tuscaloosa, which was the best time by a Wiregrass girls runner on the year and was also a Providence Christian school record. Crim recorded four of the top six times in PCS history and finished in the top five in all seven races, winning four times. She placed fifth at the Class 3A state meet, matching her finish from last year.

Your thoughts on being named cross country runner of year: I am honored. I didn’t necessarily think I would get it two times. I didn’t know if that normally happens, so I was really honored when I heard the news that I got it. I think I worked really hard this year so I am really happy that it paid off to be honored like this. I am really thankful for this opportunity.

What were your preseason goals? I really wanted to break 20 (minutes) this year because I had stayed behind that barrier for a long time. I really wanted to get past that. I was looking to get a better position at state, but that didn’t happen and that is a little disappointing.

How did you feel about your season? I was happy that I was able to break 20 because that was a big goal throughout the whole cross country experience, but I was a little disappointed at the state performance as I didn’t get the placement I wanted, but I was pretty satisfied with the season as a whole.

What place did you want to get at state? I really wanted to get on the podium this year so that would be either first, second or third place, but I ended up fifth overall, which is only two spots behind so that is a little frustrating. It is still good, though.

What did you do in offseason to improve? We had practice every day in the summer as we got up in the morning and ran as a team, mostly long distance, about 7-8 miles most day on building endurance. I did a little more weight training to get stronger for the season and prepare myself for the whole season and also work on endurance and speed.

What will you do this offseason? I will keep running as I am in indoor track season right now so we have practice after school and I will train with that and work on keep getting stronger and faster for my senior year next year.

Carter on Crim: The main thing Grace has going for her is she has God-given talent and has a good work ethic. She shows up ready to practice and compete. She is consistent and the big thing about our sport is consistency. The biggest thing is she has natural speed and she has good quickness. She can just about outkick anybody (at the end) on the cross country course.

Tyler Rathburn

Enterprise High School

2019 Boys Cross Country Runner of Year

Background: Rathburn was a senior on the Enterprise cross country team of coach Christina Rodgers. Rathburn has competed for the Wildcat cross country team since the seventh grade (six seasons).

Numbers: In nine races on the season, Rathburn earned seven times of 17 minutes and 40 seconds or below, including a Wiregrass best time of 16:02.42 during the Opp’s Bobcat Invitational. He won two races – The Eastgate Meet and the Bobcat Invitational – and finished in the top 12 in five other races. His second best time of the season was 17:10.97 at the state meet.

Your reaction on being named runner of the year: Surprised. Honestly, I thought it would go to (Houston Academy’s) Gunnar (Smith). I didn’t expect it. It feels good (to win it) and to know my work paid off.

What were your preseason goals? My goal was to break 16 (minutes), which I got really close. Honestly, I had questions about actually participating because most of the seniors from last year graduated and those were all my friends so I was questioning whether to keep running.

On what motivated you to continue this year? Just to finish it off since I had already done it for five years. I may as well do it one more year.

How did you feel about your season? I would say it was successful. I had a fun time with the team and I got pretty close to my goal, so I am satisfied with it.

What did you do in offseason to improve? Just trained a lot. I just tried to get the mileage. I didn’t do many hard workouts.

Do you have a particular strategy when you race? Depends on the race. On the slower races, I try to get out quicker. At the Dothan meets, I try to get out quicker and stay out front. At Jesse Owens, that is a different story because even if you go (out) fast, you still get stuck in the crowd.

Are you a better starter or a better finisher? I would say finisher.

Will you run cross country in the future? I am planning on joining the 10-mile team in the Army. Each base has a 10-mile team and they have a yearly 10-mile race up in Washington, D.C.

Rodgers on Rathburn: Tyler has been one of our lead seniors this year. We had a very young team this year and he has definitely given the times to strive to beat. We wish Tyler the best in his future endeavors and will miss him.

                                                       

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