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’Stangs’ lone senior runner taking things in stride
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GUYTON — Aiden Anderson’s time to be a leader is now. Although he’s not quite sure what all that entails, he believes that he up for the challenge.

The No. 1 runner for the South Effingham boys’ cross-country team is embracing his new position regardless of how tough it turns out to be.

“It is a little stressful sometimes,” Anderson said. “I feel if I try hard I can be a good leader to my team.”

Anderson is looking to put together a complete season. That means setting a new personal record while developing captain-like qualities.

“I want to be someone who stands out,” he said. “I know people want to be fast but I also want to be a good teammate. Cross-country isn’t just an individual sport. 

“If you’re looking at points and scores, it’s a team sport. So, I want to be able to work with my team the best I can. I want to be a good team player and be fast at the same time.”

As a child, Anderson enjoyed watching the Olympics and from there his love for running was birthed. He thought he would become a prolific javelin thrower until he realized the event was not offered in high school.

Still, he’s made good use of his legs and feet so, in hindsight, not becoming the ultimate field event specialist he dreamed of is OK with him.

“I was one of those kids who loved the Olympics and, most of the time when you watch it, it’s track and field,” Anderson said. “I thought that was cool. So, I thought that would be awesome to do.”

As the lone senior on his team, he realizes this may not be the year the Mustangs turn in another top five finish. He’s focused on what he can control, however, and if they find a spot on the podium it will be bittersweet.

“We really wanted to win (the Class AAAAA championship) last year,” Anderson said. “Top four was great. This year, we lost a lot of those runners but I feel like we can still do pretty well. 

“We have a lot of fast runners this year.”

For Anderson, running for the last time in a Mustangs uniform means taking everything in stride.

“I am looking forward to those fun moments, working as a team and giving it our greatest effort,” he said.