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THE GRIND: West Forsyth's Poteet fits right in with talented cross country team
Grind West 082615 web
West Forsyth junior Reagan Poteet was one of the top girls cross country runners in Class AAAAA last season at Kell. Now she gives a deep Lady Wolverines team another runner for opposing teams to contend with. - photo by Micah Green

By Michael Foster

When Reagan Poteet moved into her new neighborhood in June, her first task was to figure out the terrain in the area. For cross country runners, there are no standardized fields, no yard markers or arcs.

Just wide open spaces and new challenges.

Poteet, a junior at West Forsyth, comes from a running background. Her father, David, is the cross country coach at Kennesaw State University back in her hometown. Her brother, Logan, is a freshman cross country runner at the University of North Florida.

The Poteet name broadcast itself far enough that when Poteet traded her Kell High School gear for West’s, the current runners on the Lady Wolverines’ cross country team already knew what they were getting. Poteet was named to the Marietta Daily Journal’s 2014 All County cross country team as a sophomore at Kell High School.

“Everywhere I go they say, ‘Oh, you’re Logan Poteet’s sister.’ They know who my Dad is because he’s a coach from the area. There are expectations,” Poteet said.

At Kell the last few seasons, Poteet was one of just a few standard runners. Now she’s one of many that make West’s team one of the stronger groups in the Forsyth-north Fulton area. The transition to her new environment was a perfect fit thanks to the comradery offered up by the other runners on West’s team.

“I started practicing with the team right away so I got into it really quick,” Poteet said. “Transferring into a new school, I thought it would be hard, but with the team behind me that actually made it easier. They’re who I’m always around, they’re my main friends here, and they made the transition really easy for me.

“They showed me around, helped me find my classes, and they helped me get settled in.”

Poteet didn’t completely settle in until running her first race with her new squad. On Saturday, the Lady Wolverines won the Pickens Preview in Jasper, and Poteet said her 10th place finish (20:22.87) wasn’t nearly good enough. Her teammate, Liz Galarza, led the way with a time of 19:28.48. Freshman Mallory Luskus timed in four seconds before Poteet.

Poteet and West believe the team can only get better from here.

“I think once I get into the training and get used to what’s going on at West I’ll improve as a whole. I’ve never had but one girl to run with, so to have a full team to back you up helps that much more. The closer we get to each other the better we will be,” Poteet said.

Poteet’s focus is solely on running. She’s not looking for any new hobbies in her new hometown—just more places to run.

“You have to love it,” Poteet said. “You have to love what you do and do what you love. If you don’t have a passion for it there’s no way to excel like people who are obsessed. Everybody wants to give up during a race, everybody feels the pain, so you have to learn to push through and accept the pain.

“You have to take the pain for a ride. You can’t let the pain ride you.”