In his first year as head coach of the Mount Gilead cross country program, Jake Hayes will have stacked squads to work with, as he returns nearly everyone from teams that finished second (girls) and fifth (boys) in the Division III state meet last year.
Hayes returns seven letter-winners on the girls’ team. Junior Baylee Hack and sophomore Ali Johnson both were first-team all-conference, all-district, all-region and All-Ohio last year; while sophomores Emily Hanft and Olivia Millisor earned first-team recognition in the conference, district and region. Also back are senior Jadyn Shipman, junior Maddie Fitzpatrick and sophomore Selia Shipman.
While the team did lose Micah James, Hayes cited Makayla Weaver and Adriana Tinch as varsity newcomers.
“The Mount Gilead girls’ team has had a great summer of training,” he said. “This year, we look to our very strong returning members to continue to improve their racing skill. We have some very strong new girls that we expect to make a big impact this season. Our aim is to execute our racing plans better from week to week and improve our pack running abilities as the season progresses.”
The coach expects another exciting race for a conference title, noting that the KMAC was packed full of quality teams last year.
“The KMAC was home to four state ranked teams last season in Fredericktown, Northmor, Centerburg and Mount Gilead,” he said. “We expect that same dogfight this year for the conference title.”
The boys’ team also returns of lot of runners who had successful 2017 seasons. Junior Liam Dennis got first-team recognition from the conference, district, region and state; while senior Casey White earned those accolades in the KMAC, district and region. Senior Kyle White, junior Ethan Supplee and sophomore Brett Shipman were first-team picks in the conference and district; while senior Trevor Ball was a first-team all-conference runner and senior Brandon Stevens was a second-team KMAC selection.
The team graduated Tyler Clark, but has a number of runners looking to make an impact on the varsity this year in Michael Snopik, Colson Chapman, Seamus Walsh, Eric Mowery, Gavin Robinson and Sy Shipman.
“The Mount Gilead boys’ team has had a great summer of training and we look to carry that training into a successful fall racing schedule,” said Hayes. “We have a series of highly competitive meets we are looking forward to competing in. We aim to become better skilled racers and improve our execution each week.”
In the conference, the coach looks at Fredericktown to be towards the front of the pack in the league meet.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS