With Crawfordsville the local favorite in area cross country, Fountain Central, North Montgomery, and Southmont hope to not be very far behind in the pack.
Athenians look to maintain success
Crawfordsville’s cross country team has built themselves into a local powerhouse in the last few seasons, and it’s their expectation to keep it that way this fall.
In 2018 both of Crawfordsville’s girls and boys team won the Montgomery county meet. The boys took home a team title at the Sagamore Conference meet, while the girls finished second, just six points behind Lebanon. At the South Putnam sectional, the girls were sixth, and the boys third. The boys placed fifth at the Ben Davis regional, just missing a semi-state berth.
Crawfordsville returns their top runner in Madison Fry and Halle Smith, who has varsity experience. The Athenians will be small in numbers on the girls side, but coach Megan Craig sees a benefit to their roster.
“The girls are a young group with a few less runners,” she said. “Our strength is in the quality of runners. We may be a small group this year, but the spread in times in minimal. They will be able to pack run, which will be very beneficial to the girls with little racing experience.”
Craig expects Olivia Fichter, Kiera Martinez and Elyse Widmer to fill out the lineup as first-year runners, as well as freshman Olivia Biddle.
Losing only Riley Fyffe to graduation, the Athenians return the core of their boys team, including Eli Widmer, Drake Hayes, and Hunter Hutchison. Widmer and Hayes were both first-team all conference runners last year, and Widmer advanced to the semi-state as an individual.
“Eli Widmer fell short of a state appearance last year and has been motivated not to do so again this year,” Craig said. “Eli, Drake and Hunter will be our top three. Their racing experience and determination to advance as a team has been integral in keeping the runners motivated all summer.”
Devin Burris also returns as a senior after battling an injury last season.
Crawfordsville will open the season on Saturday at the South Putnam Invite at 10 a.m. The Montgomery County meet will take pace on Thursday, Sep. 19 at Crawfordsville, and the Sagamore Conference meet is Saturday, Oct. 5 at Danville. The IHSAA Sectional is at South Putnam on Saturday, Oct. 12.
Mustangs still eager
Despite the loss of state qualifier Logan Pietrzak, and No. 2 runner Blade Greene, the Fountain Central boy’s cross country team is poised to continue to make noise. The girl’s team also lost their top runner from last season in Mackenzy Linville, but have worked hard in the offseason and are excited to get things started.
In 2018 the Mustangs’ girl’s team placed third at the Wabash River Conference meet, while the boys placed second. The boys placed second at the Benton Central sectional, while the girls were sixth.
Nadya Rahm-Bradford and Katie Hurt return for their senior seasons along with juniors Tyler Bowling and Kenna Bible.
“Girls are looking to improve and maximize their potential,” Mustangs coach Jared Owens said. “Many girls worked hard this summer and are excited to start the season to see their improvements. The girls hope to build off of last year, fulfill their potential, and be running their best at the right time.”
Seniors Kyle Mellady and Jacob Rice, and track and field stars Carson Pietrzak, Dan Adams, and Justin Butts are back and ready to step into a leadership role this year for Fountain Central.
“Many boys are looking to step up both as runners and leaders this year,” Owens said. “The boys hope to maximize their potential and grow as a team throughout the year hoping to run their best at the end of the year.”
Fountain Central opens the season next Thursday at the Seeger Hokum Karem. The Bi-County meet will be on Thursday, Sep. 19 at Hanging Rock Church Camp, the Wabash River Conference meet on Tuesday, Oct. 8 and the IHSAA Sectional at Benton Central on Saturday, Oct. 12.
Chargers enter new stage
North Montgomery graduated a lot from last year’s teams including two of their top boys and their top girl. It will be a bit of a rebuild mode for first-year coach Cassie Hicks.
North Montgomery’s boys finished seventh at the Sagamore Conference meet and sixth at the sectional. The girls finished sixth at the SAC meet, and seventh at the sectional. The North boys last qualified for a regional in 2012, while the girls last qualified in 2015. Girls
After graduating Katlynn McClerkin, the Chargers will look to rely on seniors Mackenzie Stage and Sarah Brown for leadership, while Claire Bonwell returns as North’s top runner. Lydia LaChance, Hannah Littell, and Jessica Dittmer will round out the Charger’s lineup.
“Sophomore Claire Bonwell has been working hard over the summer,” Hicks said. “So I know she is ready to charge forward.
Each girl will also have a key role. Seniors Mackenzie Stage and Sarah Brown will provide leadership, while sophomore Claire Bonwell has a high level of fitness. Junior Lydia LaChance is a solid, consistent runner who will provide stability to our top 4. Junior Hannah Littell and senior Jessica Dittmer will round out our top 6.
Hicks is expecting sophomores Elijah McCartney, Treyce Pittman, and Dakota Scott to fill big shoes this fall. McCartney returns as the top Charger finisher at the sectional, placing 12th overall and advancing to the regional as just a freshman.
“We lost several upperclassmen, so they know that each practice and each meet is going to require their best focus,” Hicks said.
Overall North Montgomery’s numbers are down, and Hick’s hopes to see them improve still in the early part of the season.
“Our weakness will be our low numbers, but I am continuing to recruit new member to provide cushion to our top-five runners later in the season,” she said.
North Montgomery opens the season next Thursday at the Seeger Hokum Karem. The The Montgomery County meet will take pace on Thursday, Sep. 19 at Crawfordsville, and the Sagamore Conference meet is Saturday, Oct. 5 at Danville. The IHSAA Sectional is at Benton Central on Saturday, Oct. 12.
Mounties seek stability
Getting kids out has been the biggest challenge for Southmont cross country coach Courtny Cotten. With 14 on the roster, this is the biggest team the Mounties have had in a few years, and Cotten hopes to continue to build stability within the program.
“Our freshman class was strong at the junior high level so we look forward to seeing those young runners develop this season,” Cotten said. “Our upperclassmen are looking to accomplish some key times and focused on personal improvements across the board. My strongest runners on boys and girls squads will be freshman. We are about three years from viability in the Conference again as a team.”
In 2018 Southmont was eighth at the Sagamore Conference on the boys side, and finished 11th at the sectional, while the girls did not have enough runners to score as a team. The Mounties also lost their top boy’s runner in Thomas Richardson, who advanced to the Ben Davis Regional, where he placed 53rd.
With six girls on the roster, Southmont will be able to score as a team this season, and Cotten expects senior Jane Scheidler to step up her efforts this season. He also expects freshman Faith Allen to lead the team performance wise for most of the season. Megan Scheidler, Tiffany Dittmer, Faith Allen, and Sophie Reimondo round out the Mounties lineup.
Southmont’s boy roster will feature three freshmen and four juniors, and Cotten hopes to see big things out of junior Austin Smothers.
“Austin has a lot of promise,” he said. “We are hoping to build his confidence and get him to a place where he performing consistently.”
Freshman Slayde Gardner will be in the mix as the Mounties top runner, while Toby Casteel, Connor Keller, Skyler Wood, Beck McIntyre, Aaron Evans, and Gerald Hutson will round out the lineup.
Southmont opens the season next Thursday at the Seeger Hokum Karem. The Montgomery County meet will take pace on Thursday, Sep. 19 at Crawfordsville, and the Sagamore Conference meet is Saturday, Oct. 5 at Danville. The IHSAA Sectional is at South Putnam on Saturday, Oct. 12.