Athletes at McCracken County learn to play with former rivals

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PADUCAH, KY. -- Heath, Reidland, and Lone Oak are now gone, and athletes from each of those schools find themselves on the same team.

"Those schools are something you can't forget," said Noah Wilkins, who played on Reidland's soccer team. "You have to move on. Everyone has to adapt and accept this, because it's happening."

Now as practices begin, each player has to learn to play with former rivals.

"I'm learning to except it each day," said Emily Belt, a former Lone Oak soccer player. "It is getting easier."

"It's about McCracken County," Wilkins said. "You are fighting for your spot and your spot only to show what you have."

With more athletes trying to make each team, the competition level has gone up. That makes most believe that in the end it will only help each program.

"It does bring the competition level up a bit more," Zachary Schultz said, who ran cross country at Heath. "In the end it will help us, because we are running harder and proving ourselves."

"It made me want to go in the gym and work harder everyday to make sure I had a spot on the floor," said Chaney Walker, a cheerleader from Lone Oak.

As each day passes, they are slowly beginning to see themselves as one team.

"Everyday we get better," Belt said. "At first it was all over the place, but now I feel more confident with what we have."

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