Marion returns solid runners
Only one or two seniors will be returning to Marion cross country, but this year’s underclassmen don’t lack experience or the ability to be contenders.
“The nice thing about our young kids is that they are talented,” said coach Grant Thierolf the 17 students competing this year. “They are going to be good runners.”
Junior Heidi Grimmett returns for the girls after winning the regional cross-country meet in Hutchinson last year with a time of 21:40:0 and then placing 10th at state.
Thierolf would like to see Grimmett qualify for state again and improve her placing — a realistic goal for her.
“This is a girl I know can run and run well,” he said.
Freshman Hannah Stubenhofer-May is running cross-country for the first time.
“She is a great addition to the team,” he said. “She is real smart. She is out to run to get herself in better shape and be a part of something and to help us. It’s a great thing for her to do.”
Sophomore Tristen Dye, back this year for the boys team, was Marion’s top runner last year and is unlikely to relinquish that title.
“He has had a real good summer and early fall,” he said. “He has significantly improved over last year.”
Christopher Beery and Hayden Mendoza, both sophomores, also made great strides during summer workouts, Thierolf said.
By the end of last season, Mendoza had dropped five or six minutes from his 5K race. Thierolf sees great potential this year.
“He has had a great summer running well and pushing himself in practice,” he said. “It makes it fun to watch.”
Thierolf wants the team to do as well as they did in their home meet last year. Grimmett placed second, and all five boys and three girls snagged season best times.
Then they can focus on performing well at regionals and state.
All of the team’s runners have demonstrated the grit they will need to succeed in the sport, Thierolf said.
“It takes toughness to run distances,” he said. “No other sport in history can replicate it….We’ve got some tough kids. I’ve found that out.”
Last modified Sept. 2, 2020