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Hall County cross country teams are heading for the home stretch
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Jimmy Sorrells’ six-month experiment, otherwise known as cross country season, is about to reach its conclusion.

The Flowery Branch coach’s goal is to use the most effective training techniques to get his runners ready for today’s Class AAA state cross country meet in Carrollton.

"It’s like a scientific experiment," Sorrells said. "So far, it’s been successful."

The success Sorrells and the Falcons have had so far include qualifying both the boys and the girls teams for today’s season finale. The West Hall boys, North Hall boys and Chestatee girls also qualified for the state meet.

Sorrells success also includes a Region 7-AAA title for the boys team. But today’s meet is the payoff.

"We’ve seen great results with our training program this year," Sorrells said. "I hope it continues to work."

Unlike other fall sports, cross country runners train six months just for one race, the state meet. That is the primary goal of the season for Sorrells and his team.

Once there, the goals change.

"The first goal is to get there," he said. "Then we’d like any top-10 finish, and of course the opportunity to get on the trophy stand is a legitimate goal for any team going there."

In order to reach the trophy stand, the Falcons will have to conquer a challenging course in Carrollton, but one that most teams are familiar with.

During the season, there are several opportunities to run the course in Carrollton, including the Last Chance Invitational.

It is a two-loop course with its biggest hill near the midway point. While most coaches don’t consider it a fast course, Sorrells said his runners have posted some of their best times in Carrollton.

"I can’t explain it," he said. "But I’m not going to complain."

As much as physically, Sorrells hopes his runners are prepared mentally. Senior Daniel Martinez is the only Flowery Branch runner that has experience at the state meet.

Sorrells wants his runners to find a balance between cocky and confident coming into the state meet.

"They are going to be nervous," he said. "I’m a little concerned it might be overwhelming for them. ... State’s a lot different."

Training for state is a lot different, also.

Most coaches use a training method known as a taper, which slowly decrease the runners’ workload so he or she will be fresh and rested for the season’s biggest meet. Sorrells is no different.

"We try to reduce the workload so they will be fresher and stronger," he said. "We don’t reduce it until we get to the end."

The fact that Sorrells is training his runners for the state meet is a surprise to him. After graduating four seniors from his team’s top seven last year, he was ready to deem this season a rebuilding year.

A region title later, the Falcons and their coach are ready to enjoy the bus ride to Carrollton.

"For us to be where we are, it’s amazing," he said. "Everything we are doing this year is a bonus."

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