The Mount Gilead track teams will look for another successful season to at least match the 2017 campaign, when both teams won conference championships, the girls were district champions and the boys were district and regional runners-up.
To help in that endeavor, both teams are loaded with returnees, although they’ll both have to replace some key point-earners.
For the boys, junior Brandon Stevens qualified for state in three events, while junior Casey White also ran at the state meet. Juniors Kyle White, Connor Page, Nick McKinney and Liam Dennis all qualified for regionals in at least one event, with Page also qualifying for the 2018 state indoor meet in the 60-meter hurdles.
Also back are seniors Isaac Arrington, Colten Clark and Tyler Clark; juniors Trevor Ball, Gavin Robinson, Sy Shipman and Micah Tuggle and sophomores Aaron Baer and Ethan Supplee.
The team did suffer some important losses, including state 800-meter champ Austin Hallabrin, state qualifiers Jonah Barnett and Nick Weiss, as well as Bryce Gaines, Drake McCallen and Dustin Fraizer, but head coach Lauren Hueisman will have some new blood to count upon, citing Dorian James, Brett Shipman and Evan Zmuda as athletes who should contribute points.
The girls team is much the same way, boasting a lot of key returnees, including some with state experience.
Sophomore Jessica Brewer has state meet experience, both in the 2017 outdoor meet and 2018 indoor meet, while senior Corrin Watt and sophomore Bridgette Millisor ran in state as part of the 800-meter relay. Sophomore Baylee Hack was a regional finalist in the 3200 and is coming off a cross country season in which she finished third in the state.
Senior Addison Chapman and junior Micah James ran at regionals, while sophomore Skylar Edwards was a league runner-up in the shot. Also back are senior Dani Harter, juniors Jadyn Shipman and Samantha Sullivan and sophomore Kelsey Kennon.
Four members of Mount Gilead’s state runner-up cross country team will bolster the team’s depth in fifth-place runner Ali Johnson, Emily Hanft, Olivia Millisor and Selia Shipman. Huelsman also is looking for contributions from Isabela Shroeter.
The team will have some key names to replace, including four-time state qualifier Olivia Brewer, state runners Hannah Bush and Darcy Picker and regional qualifier Savannah Randall. With so much returning experience, the coach has the same goals for both teams.
“Our overall team goal is simple,” she said. “We want to bring positive energy each day and become the best version of ourselves as we can be, on and off the track. As a team, we prioritize a conference championship each year and would like to win the first year of the KMAC on both sides. After conference, we will continue to work towards success at the district, regional and state levels both individually and as a team.”
While Huelsman feels all conference teams have strong individuals, she picks Northmor and Highland as the toughest competition on the boys’ side and Fredericktown and Northmor as the top girls’ teams.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS