By ROB HAMILTON
With six lettermen returning, Cardington cross country coach Erik Kyrk has high hopes for his boys’ team this year.
Senior Jacob Long leads the returnees. Not only is he the school record holder for the 3.1-mile race, but also has been Academic All-Ohio, All-Ohio, All-District and All-Conference. Seniors Josh Queener and Mike Queener both have also been honored by the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference and the Central District.
Junior Toby Beveridge and sophomores Quinn Maceyko and Spencer Benson also return and will be joined by junior Derek Goodman and freshmen Greg Osborne and Jakob Edgell.
“The boys’ varsity team has a solid core of five runners that will be competitive,” said the coach, who lost Jared Gandelot to graduation. “Keeping everyone healthy and developing the new runners will be very important for a successful year. The team looks to be competitive and challenge themselves in every contest.”
In the MOAC and post-season competitions, Kyrk is looking at both Fredericktown and Mount Gilead to provide big challenges for his squad to overcome.
The girls’ team also returns six letter-winners, but is a far younger team, with only one senior and two juniors serving as upperclassmen.
Senior Destiny Williamson; juniors Jessica Shook and Bailey Shafer and sophomores Alicia McElwee, Sage Brannon and Caitlyn Lee-Rosch return for the Pirates. While Sami Bennett was lost to graduation, the team has four freshmen ready to compete for varsity spots in Abbey Lorimer, Kynlee Edwards, Taiylor Hubley and Ashley Drury round out the team’s roster.
“The varsity girls continue to gain experience with each practice and new race,” said Kyrk. “Developing this young team will be key. Success builds success and we will strive to be successful.”
In the conference, the coach feels Mount Gilead, Northmor and Centerburg enter the season as the top squads.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS