High School Sports

CROSS COUNTRY PREVIEW

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Young team hopes to continue tradition of success for Cville

Hunter Hutchison and Halle Smith will be relied on to do more than just be the top finishers for the Crawfordsville cross country team.

The duo are the only seniors for an Athenian team that hopes to see continued success. Crawfordsville’s girls won a third Sagamore Conference title in four years last fall, while both teams advanced to the regional. 

The first priority though will be remaining healthy.

“This year our main focus is staying healthy and hoping to complete the season,” Crawfordsville coach Megan Craig said. “I watched how difficult it was for the 2020 distance seniors to exit CHS without their final track season. As a coaching staff, your vision for the season drastically changes. You begin to realize that each time we step to the line it is a gift to compete together. We will always be a competitive group working to push ourselves to the limit. This year however it comes with a unique feeling of gratefulness that we have the opportunity.”

Craig says the team continued to stay active through the pandemic and are ready to build toward success. 

Ian Hensley, Nathaniel Million, Arthur Ruano, Peter Kearns, Elyse Widmer, Olivia Biddle, and Olivia Fichter each return to add depth, while newcomes Ryan Miller, Gabby Warren, Skylah Strawser, Karla Fernandez, and Addison Steward join the Athenians’ roster this year.

Mustangs have lofty goals for 2020

VEEDERSBURG — Following a pair of regional qualifying berths, the expectations remain high for Fountain Central cross country heading into the 2020 season.

The Mustang boys’ advanced to the IHSAA Regional in 2019 with a fourth-place finish at the sectional last year, while the girls’ placed fifth.

Now it’s time for Fountain Central to not just qualify for the regional, but also compete.

“A consensus team goal is to not only make it into the regional meet, but also be competitive in that meet,” first-year coach Steve Burrows said. “Many individuals have set goals that are well below last season’s personal records to help guide their training efforts.”

Carson Pietrzak, Daniel Adams, Justin Butts, and Matthew York all return on the boys’ side, while Kenna Bible, Tyler Bowling, and Courtney Sims return for the girls. Burrows also expects Ethan Mellady and Hayden Kler to make an impact for the boys.

He also believes the Mustangs will be ready to go despite the long layoff during the offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many of them lost out on the chance to compete in the spring track season, which cost them some considerable gains in conditioning,” he said. “However, they stayed in close contact via text conversations over the summer and were ready to start running as a team on the very first day of allowed by the IHSAA.”

Top runners return for North

LINDEN — Claire Bonwell and Elijah McCartney each led their respective pack of North Montgomery runners in 2019, and the pair of juniors are back for another season. 

On the girls side, Bonwell will team up with seniors Lydia LaChance and Hannah Littell, while freshman Kylin White joins Elijah McCartney on the boys squad.

“My overall goal is to create an environment of trust, respect, commitment, confidence, and communication in order to help each runner, run faster, while keeping them healthy,” Chargers coach Cassie Hicks said. “I look for Claire Bonwell and Elijah McCartney to advance to the regional again, and I hope to pull the others’ times down along the way.”

McCartney placed 10th at the IHSAA Sectional last season with a time of 18:29, while Bonwell was 23rd in 23:00.

Hicks hope to see consistency out of her runners’ training that will lead to improvement.

“In order to improve, the team has to continue to value the work they are doing,” she said. “I heard or read the saying ‘It isn’t what you do, but how you do it,’ by John Wooden quite a few years ago, and I still think of it every day. Any work we do, whether it be running, strength and mobility training or recovery, is worth doing right. So far everyone has brought goot attitudes and enthusiasm to each practice, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the season play out for them.”

Allen takes over young Mountie team

NEW MARKET — The Southmont cross country team is small in numbers and young by age, but new coach Shelley Allen is ready to get to work.

The Mounties return their top runners on both sides in sophomores Faith Allen and Aaron Evans, along with returnees Toby Casteel and Conner Keller. Southmont also welcomes freshmen Mason Cass and Brett Keller.

“My goals are for the kids to continue improving each competition, and cultivate a culture of hard work and winning,” Allen said.

In 2019, Allen paced the area as a freshman with Crawfordsville senior Madison Fry. Allen was second at the Montgomery County meet, earned All-SAC honors with a fourth-place finish at the Sagamore Conference meet, and placed 16th at the IHSAA Sectional to advance to the regional.

Now that Fry is continiung her distance career at IUPUI, it’s Allens’ time to dominate the area.

It’s also now up to coach Allen to build a team around her returning runners.

“To be more competitive we have to start recruiting at a young age for our feeder program and continue to build a winning culture and team atmosphere," she said.

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