Area high school cross country teams have started their season. Some teams are rebuilding, some are hopeful for a season filled with success and others are setting goals.
The Barr-Reeve Vikings boy’s cross country coach JayR Perkins said he has nine runners on the boy’s side this year. Girl’s coach Susie Graber has two runners.
“We have a mix of upper classmen and one freshman,” said Perkins. Last year Perkins said his team advanced to semi-state and he has high hopes that this years’ team can repeat. If they do, this will be the eighth year in a row the for Barr-Reeve to compete at semi-state. “Last year’s season was a little disappointing because we had one of the best teams Barr-Reeve has ever had,” said Perkins. “We had two all-state runners and one of the top five freshman in the state, but Jarit (Perkins, the coach’s son) got injured and couldn’t run. It was rewarding though because Conner (Sorrells) won state. Perkins said this year the goal is to keep his runners healthy and motivated.
“We want to win conference, place well at the sectional, and move onto regionals.” Currently Perkins, a sophomore, is ranked in the top five in the state of all runners in his grade. “He has tremendous talent,” said coach. “Our other runners are showing improvement too. They train hard and are showing great progression from last year.”
Washington coach Dave Harman is looking forward to building off the success his boy’s cross country team found last year. “The boy’s won the conference for the in 20 years last season,” said Harmon. “We are hoping to win the conference title again this year.”
The Hatchets lost just one runner to graduation and have roster boosting 14 boys and eight girls this year.
On the boy’s side, Harman said the senior quartet of KC Heller, Drew Brother, Austin Gray, and Dalton Short are all runners to watch. Harman said Short, along with Koty Hatton have both shown improvement.
“Short has had an excellent summer. He crossed trained and is running really well right now. Hatton is working really hard and I hope his hard work pays off for him and the team.”
Harmon said the keys to success of the boy’s team are training hard, keeping focus on the team goal at the end of the season and having the team run in a much closer pack.
The Hatchet girls team will be lead by Madison Decker and Brandy White. Decker advanced to the state finals as a freshman but suffered from hip and leg problems as a sophomore. “Keeping Madison healthy is the key to her success,” said Harman. White made a trip to semi-state as a sophomore. “Brandy got a late start in the season, but I expect her to bounce back and be ready by the end of the season.”
Harmon stressed the importance of keeping members of the girl’s team healthy. “Our goal is to keep everyone healthy and to have several girl’s advance to semi-state and state,” he said.
The Cardinals of Washington Catholic lost three of their runners this year. Coach Josh Wichman said this year his team will consist of senior Sam Baker and five girls.
“Sam is the only boy so I’m hoping that he will make it to regionals. He has had an excellent running career and I am hoping that his season will be a good one,” said Wichman.
Last year both Baker and Sarah Wichman, now running at Saint Mary of-the-Woods advanced to the regional competition. This year, there are three new girls running. “I’d like to see them continue to get better throughout the year,” said Wichman. “Junior Sydney Dunbar has improved each year and I am also looking forward to see how she runs this year.”
The North Daviess Cougars have 13 members on their team this year and coach Darrell Brower expects this to be a rebuilding one. “We lost three seniors from last year’s team,” said Brower. “Last season ended with the emotional loss of out beloved team member Samantha Porter in a tragic car accident.”
“We are rebuilding our team but we have great runners,” said Brower. Freshman Cassie Atchley on the girl’s side and Isaiah Borders on the boy’s side along with sophomore Jenna Meadows and junior Brian Asdell are all runners to watch.
Loogootee cross country coach Adam Tompkins has 10 runners this year after loosing two to graduation. “These season is going to be an eye-opener. I say that because if they (the team) put in the work that Zach Wagler put in last year, they can do anything,” said Tompkins.
Seniors Liam Hollihan and Adam Lark will lead returning junior Mac Osborne, along with Chase Wilcoxen, Paul Hill and Mitch Daniel. Sophomore Jonathan Krzesniak and frehsmen Tristan Jones, Jake Simmons and Nick Rienhart make up the rest of the team.
Loogootee does not have a girls team this year.