By JP Widner
Dublin- After serving five years as an assistant coach under former Head Coach Jamie McCarty, Sirak Ogbagabir has been promoted to the Pulaski County High School Head Boy’s Cross-Country coach and will assist the Lady Cougars program.
During his tenure at PCHS, Cougar teams have earned three regional titles and two district titles with multiple all district, region and state athletes and two state champions.
As a former cross-country/track athlete, Ogbagabir has plenty of successful experience to pass on to his athletes. As an athlete at Gar-Field High School, he earned two AAA All-State, seven All-Regional and twelve All-District honors. He also earned Cross-Country Freshman of the Year, MVP for 2002/2003, and many other high school awards. Ogbagabir ran for the University of Toledo until an injury forced him into early retirement.
“My goals for the girls team is to field a competitive varsity and build upon that,” said the new Cougar leader. “I think the girls can be a sectional qualifier and surprise a lot of people. My goal for the guys is to win the Conference 24 title. We bring back four guys from last year and with some very talented additions, we can be competitive through the state meet. Everyone has had solid summers thus far, and we are right on schedule. I think there is going to be a lot of surprises from the Cougar harriers this cross country season.”
The following are members of the boy’s cross-country team and quotes from Coach Ogbagabir:
Cole Turman (sophomore)-“Cole returns stronger than ever. He has worked all summer and looks to shatter his previous personal best of 18:07. He is looking to individually take some hardware home through the championships.”
Grey Quesenberry (senior)-“Grey is one of the senior captains of this squad. He is a very strong runner who had a very solid outdoor season and summer. He looks to make a huge jump in his senior year and lead the Cougars to some top finishes in these future meets.”
Chris Taylor (sophomore)-“Chris is a very speedy, athletic runner. He has worked all summer running the trails of Dora Highway. He had a great freshman campaign in track and looks to continue it into the cross country season with some big PR’s and finishes.”
Deagan Friend (senior)-“Deagan is one of the other senior captains who will look to make some noise in his first season. He was mainly a middle distance runner in track but has the ability to go up and compete.”
Damon Akers (junior)-“Damon is coming in his first year of cross country. Damon also plays football for the school and is a dual athlete. He has been one of our more competitive distance runners during track and will really help close the door on the Cougars top 5.”
Oliver Meredith (junior)-“Oliver returns after opting to not run his sophomore year. He has had a decent summer and will improve a lot and help strengthen the Cougars top 7.”
Joseph Stacey (junior)-“Joseph returns after improving over 5 minutes from his freshman year to his sophomore year. He has worked really hard this summer and will help the Cougars.”
Brendan Guthrie (freshman)-“Brendan is the younger brother of 2013 graduate Julie Guthrie, who ran well for the Cougars. He is a gifted hard working runner who brings a hint of youth to the team.”
“At a recent time trial, most of the runners ran where they finished the year before at the district meet,” Coach Ogbagabir stated. “That’s a great sign for us to be that strong this early with just distance runs under our belt. The coaching staff has added some new faces. Leslie Mongan from Decatur, Alabama is coming and bringing a lot to the table to help the distance programs. It doesn’t hurt that she ran at Auburn. Long time Cougar coach David Wright is going to volunteer assist and will really bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the program. Personally, I look for us to have a historic year, especially on the guy’s side. This is the most talent and numbers we have been able to put out there in a very long time. On the girl’s side, having a front runner like Ella makes it easy to have a good team score. The hard work they have put it in will pay dividends and show in the coming months.”
The Cougar boys will compete in their first cross-country meet on Saturday, Sept. 7, at Christiansburg.