As the 2008 Marion High School cross country season begins, it’s clear head coach Bethany Carlson has some talent on the roster.
Ryan Jones and Louis Holt return for their junior seasons fresh off an appearance at the state meet a year ago.
On the girls’ side, senior Camille Christensen, who has been the team’s top or second-best runner the past two years, returns with an opportunity at a second trip to the state tournament.
Sophomores Michael Kirkpatrick and Brandon Meierhoff return to the boys’ varsity squad as well.
Andy Shipman, a sophomore in his first year on the team, Meierhoff, and exchange students Max Wagner and Phillip Gu round out the rest of the squad.
While Jones and Holt should lead the team, Carlson was pleased that Shipman and Meierhoff finished second and third on the team respectively during the pre-season time trials.
Jones was first and Holt fourth.
“I’m sure when it comes to the meets, these positions will interchange throughout the season,” she said.
Either way, it can’t hurt when the top-two runners are being pushed by the rest of the team.
Shipman, who is a member of the MHS wrestling and track and field teams, has impressed Carlson.
“He’ll be bringing something to our team,” she said. “He’s a nice addition.”
Wagner and Gu have not participated on a cross country team before, but the runners still qualified for the sixth and seventh varsity spots.
Carlson noted that before they came to the team, there was not a lot of depth. Now, junior varsity runners Derek Stuchlik, Adam Molleker, and the injured Galen Funk, should have a varsity spot on their minds each week.
“Our junior varsity runners will have to come prepared each meet to run varsity,” Carlson said.
Christensen’s classmate Amanda Richmond will run in the second spot on the girls’ team, and should challenge Christensen throughout the season.
Four juniors, Jaclyn DeForest, Bridget Lundy, newcomer Anna Laurin, and Danae Edwards, make up third through sixth spots on varsity.
Freshman Jessie Taylor is in the seventh and final varsity spot for now. Her classmate and junior varsity runner, Taylor Harms will challenge for the final spot.
With 18 runners on the two high school teams, and eight more in the middle school program, it’s obvious the Warriors cross country program is starting to grow.
“I am every excited for the 2008 season,” Carlson said. “This year will be more about making individual improvements with the overall hope of being competitive as a team at each meet.”