Though there are not as many boys running as last year, Marion cross-country coach Rebecca Hofer is excited for the season to start because there are more girls running this year.
“It will be the biggest girls’ team I’ve had since I can remember,” Hofer said. “There will be enough to have a team.”
According to league rules, schools must have at least five runners to score team points, Hofer said. Otherwise, runners must run as individuals.
Nine girls will compete for Marion this season.
“Last year, our girls could run as individuals but we didn’t have enough to score team points,” she said.
Hofer looks to junior McKenzee Remmers to help lead and motivate the girls squad.
“McKenzee is bound and determined to make state this year,” Hofer said. “She will have to keep working really hard and keep up her intensity.”
Remmers placed 19th in regionals last year with a time of 18 minutes, 12 seconds but failed to qualify for state.
Hofer hopes to see returning runners Kaylie Wanner, Shyla Harris, and Brittany Hett also improve. Each placed in the low 40s at regionals last year.
Hofer said she expects good things from all her returning runners, including senior Quinton Hett and sophomore Taylor Fahey.
Hett placed 46th last year at boys’ regionals with a time of 21:10 and Fahey placed 59th at 22:28.
With five runners, the boys’ team will have just enough to compete as a team this year.
Other boy runners will be Barretta Janzen, Cody Shipman, and Logan Waner. Other girl runners include Sam Fugitt, Rune Hagemeistr, Emily Hague, Kaitlyn Goebel, and Megan Freese.
Hofer said she varies routes to alter difficulty and scenery.
With a relatively young team, Hofer looks forward to the season.
“Last year was a rebuilding year,” Hofer said. “Without a super strong core of senior runners, this year will be a growing year. I’m excited to see how it turns out.”
- Sept. 4: At Abilene, 4 p.m.
- Sept. 11: At Hesston, 4p.m.
- Sept. 18: At Centre, 4 p.m. in Herington.
- Sept. 25: At Marion, 4 p.m.
- Oct. 2: At Halstead, 3:30 p.m.
- Oct. 7: At Eureka, 4 p.m.
- Oct. 16: Heart of America League tournament, 3:30 p.m. in Remington.
- Oct. 25: Regionals, all day.
- Oct. 31: State, all day.