MG teams working to return to state

After a great year in which both his boys’ and girls’ teams qualified for the state meet, Mount Gilead cross country coach Dennis West will see if they can repeat that feat.

Both teams graduated two key runners (Austin Hallabrin and Nick Weiss for the boys; Hannah Bush and Darcy Picker for the girls), but return a lot of talent while adding large freshman classes.

For the boys, who finished fifth in the state meet last year, seven letterwinners return. Junior Casey White was named all-conference, all-district, all-regional and all-state for his efforts last year. Sophomore Liam Dennis was all-conference and all-district; while juniors Kyle White and Trevor Ball both were all-district. Juniors Gavin Robinson, Sy Shipman and Brandon Stevens also lettered.

“Talented youth make up our team varsity and state meet experience,” said West. “We have a strong front-runner in Casey White, who was 15th at state. We have a strong top seven with four more pushing them. Team numbers are up, so that helps a lot.”

With all that working in his team’s favor, West is hoping they can win the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference title and district title before winning at regionals and making a run in the state meet.

The girls’ team took the fifth and final regional qualifying spot before finishing 16th at state. Sophomore Baylee Hack, who set a school record of 19:02 and was all-conference, all-district and all-region, returns, as do juniors Micah James and Jadyn Shipman and sophomores Madison Fitzpatrick, Bridgette Millisor and Makayla Weaver.

“We are youthful, talented and our numbers are up,” said West. “We have a great pack and a lot of depth on this team. We have five girls returning with state meet experience. We have four freshman runners coming in off winning the middle school state meet.”

West is hoping his team can improve on last year’s experiences, noting that they have the ability to make an impact in the state meet.

“We want to focus on winning the KMAC championship title, want to be tough in the postseason and make an impact at state,” he said.

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;

Mount Gilead’s boys’ cross country team is pictured above. Gilead’s boys’ cross country team is pictured above. Rob Hamilton | Morrow County Sentinel

In the above picture is the 2017 girls’ cross country team at Mount Gilead. the above picture is the 2017 girls’ cross country team at Mount Gilead. Rob Hamilton | Morrow County Sentinel

By Rob Hamilton

Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS