Shankles, cross country team look ahead to regional meet

Tyler Hotz, Staff Writer

The cross country season is close to reaching its peak with regionals coming up next week, and Bearden’s season has been marked by loads of talent and strong leadership.

Junior David Shankles is a key contributor and one of those leaders for the Bulldogs this season.

The boys’ team finished fifth place overall in a meet last week, and Shankles took home 24th place overall at the KIL championships. The team has consistently been in the top 10 overall during this season, and they hope to continue this with Shankles leading the way at next Thursday’s regional meet at Victor Ashe park.

While Shankles had an impressive finish at KIL, his whole season has been marked by personal bests.

Shankles has an average time of 17:46 this season, as well as an average finish of 19th place. This includes a top time of 17:13.

As in any sport, a coach can sense when the gears are all aligning, and Bearden assistant cross country coach Ashley Powell expects success throughout the team.

“I believe David can achieve a personal best at regionals,” Coach Powell said. “I think we will have a lot of personal bests and also finish well overall as a team.”

The family name Shankles has been a cornerstone of Bearden cross country for years, and has made a major impact on him too.

“Five of my siblings ran cross country, so I just followed what they did,” Shankles said. “Once I got started, I really enjoyed it.”

Even though it is great to be extremely focused, the team has the ability to cut up and have a great time, and Shankles is no exception.

“The team is really close,” Shankles said. “We get along really well and hang out outside of practice.

“Everybody loves everybody else.”

Added senior Carson Kirby: “[I think his greatest asset is] his personality and humor. He always goofs around, but has strong motivation to do his best.”

In the wider spectrum, Shankles has goals that stretch further than next week.

“I would love to run in college,” Shankles said. “I’d love to go to a Division I athletics school.

“If I could get a scholarship to run, then I definitely would [accept it].”