By ROB HAMILTON
With five letterwinners returning from a team that placed sixth in districts last year, Highland cross country coach Shawn Wilhelm has high hopes that his girls’ team can advance to regionals this fall.
“The girls are more dedicated than ever to get to the regional meet,” he said. “With the return of Lydia Morgan, the major improvement of Jenna Brown and the additions of Liz Jenson and Morgan Wilhelm, this is a team that will push each other to get stronger and faster with the intent of looking for a conference title and a spot in the regional meet.”
Returning for the Scots are seniors Jena Buchholz, Morgan and Kaley Santille, junior Laura Spearman and sophomore Sophia Thompson. Jensen and Wilhelm are two freshmen whom the coach is expecting to make an impact on the team and help replace the loss of graduates Kayla Davies, Angelica Presley and Samantha Thompson.
Coach Wilhelm is hoping his team can grow to be a force in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference race. He cited Mount Gilead, Fredericktown, Northmor and his team as having the potential to take the title, but noted that there will be a lot of quality in the league championship meet.
“The MOAC Blue Division girls’ race on Oct. 17 could be one of the most entertaining races of the year with many future regional and state qualifiers running in the front of the race. Only four out of last year’s top 20 graduated, so this race will be very tight and interesting.”
The Scot boys will have a young team this year, as three of the squad’s top runners in James Hubbard, Josh Irvin and Kevin Jones graduated. Returning are senior Devin Johnson, junior Christian Buchholz and sophomores Kahlil Karya and Jacob Serio. Wilhelm also is hoping for help from newcomer Caleb Carder and freshmen Chandler Bumpus and Collin Kipp.
“The Highland boys’ team is a young squad this season and is looking to its youth and new faces to continue the success of the past three seasons,” he said. “The boys are working hard to keep the tradition alive of going to at least regionals every year for three straight years. They will have to work hard as a team to make that goal a reality this fall.”
Once again, Wilhelm is expecting an exciting MOAC race, noting that his team is hoping to compete for a title with Mount Gilead and Fredericktown.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS