Boys Varsity Cross Country, Girls Varsity Cross Country · 2016 Cross Country Season Crosses Finish Line

The 2016 Cross Country season wrapped up Thursday night at the team banquet.  It was a wonderful yet emotional evening filled with celebration, recognition, and reflection.

After a tasty pot luck dinner, Head Coach Rachael Batts and Coach Jordan Arkle handed out medals and t-shirts to each athlete by grade saving the seniors for last.  Nineteen seniors received medals, t-shirts, and a gift bag that included a team picture signed by the coach with heartfelt sentiments that will be cherished for years to come.  Five of the seniors, Savannah Cowart, Elizabeth Dudle, Kevin Jacobs, Deland Saville, and Donovan York are 4-year veterans.  One senior, Nathan Bowden, is a 5-year veteran as he joined Coach Batts’ XC team when he was in 8th Grade.

2016 XC Seniors
2016 XC Seniors: BR- Jon McCandless, Ryan Brobst, Nathan Bowden, Lukas Davis, Deland Saville, Chase Hutchinson, Kevin Jacobs, Kris Adams, Donovan York, Reese Galloway  FR: Hannah Edwards, Natalie Murphy, Savannah Cowart, Madeline Ward, Beth McKee, Vada Ingram, Molly Kopf  Not Pictured: Colby Askins & Elizabeth Dudle


The team captains (below) Deland Saville, Savannah Cowart, Reese Galloway, & Elizabeth Dudle  were recognized for their outstanding leadership.

Team Captions: Deland Saville, Savannah Cowart, Reese Galloway
Team Captains: Deland Saville, Savannah Cowart, Reese Galloway


Team Captain: Elizabeth Dudle
Team Captain: Elizabeth Dudle


Eight special recognition awards were handed out:

Most Improved:  Donovan York & Rebecca Schannep

Donovan York

Rebecca Schannep at State

Most Unforgettable: Gabe Rissman & “Laaaaaura” Kopf

Gabe RissmanLaura6 (3)

Most Dedicated: Nathan Bowden & Lindsay Gappa


Heart of the Lion Award: Lukas Davis & Beth McKee

LukasBeth & Savannah2 (2)

Athletes and guests were then treated to a slide show filled with pictures and videos of many fun memories of summer XC camp, practices, team dinners, team parties, bus rides, racing in meets, sweat, blood, & hospital visits.  At the end was a touching tribute to the seniors who will be so dearly missed next year. Tears were wiped.

The coaches thanked all the parent volunteers who helped host two XC meets, hosted team dinners, helped with fundraising, and who always came out to the meets to support the runners.  Special recognition went to the talented Nona Short who recorded the entire season with her incredible photography.  She shares her beautiful pictures on the Prattville High XC Facebook page.

Nona & Susan Short
Nona & Susan Short

Then as all good things come to an end, Coach Batts announced she will be giving up her post as head coach next season in order to focus on her growing family.  Coach Arkle will step up as head coach next season.  Coach Batts grew the PHS XC program from a mere 17 athletes to almost 60 strong.  She developed the program to include summer camp, team dinners, team events in the off-season, and a healthy & positive atmosphere that kept the runners coming back year after year.  Many athletes that she coached went on to run in college, some even receiving cross country scholarships.  With the enormous amount of time & effort that she invested in this program and the athletes themselves, she deserves the “Above & Beyond” award.  Everyone in the room expressed their gratitude for all that she has done.  Tears were wiped.

Coach Batts And Arkle (2)
Coach Rachael Batts with her two sons and next season’s head coach Jordan Arkle.


She will be greatly missed next season!