Area girls cross country teams reload

·4 min read

Aug. 7—The Pendleton Heights Class of 2022 was an extremely successful girls cross country team, including four straight trips to the New Haven semistate.

While that esteemed group has moved on, there are a number of area girls ready to carry the torch and continue positive postseason outcomes, starting with Arabians sophomore Ava Jarrell, who advanced to the state track and field finals in the spring and including returning talent at Alexandria, Daleville, Lapel and Shenandoah.

Here is a glance at area girls cross country teams and individual runners ahead of the fall season:

ALEXANDRIA

Head Coach: Scott Zent; Key Losses: Reanna Stinson; Expected to Return: Lily Thomas, Madi Weir, Jacklynn Hosier, Maddie Rowlett, Madelyn Thompson, Alyssa Fox, Lily Dickerson

ANDERSON

Head Coach: Andrea Dodson (4th season); Key Losses: Brook Denney, Leslie Acosta

Season Outlook: At the moment, there are no girls on the Anderson cross country roster.

ANDERSON PREP

Head Coach: Mark Stevenson (8th season); Newcomer to Watch: Clara Fulton

Season Outlook: "There hasn't been a full girls' team for four years," Stevenson said. "We are looking to build the girls program around (freshman) Clara Fulton who has running experience from middle school."

DALEVILLE

Head Coach: David Beard (36th season); 2021: Olivia Covert — All-County, Abi Covert — All-Conference, Faith Norris — Semistate qualifier; Key Losses: Olivia Covert, Abi Covert; Key Returning Athletes: Norris, Kadence Aiken; Newcomers to Watch: Jenna Brand, Makenna Corbin, Macy Kirkpatrick, Abigail Zirkle, Emily Simmons; Potential Breakout: Norris

Season Outlook: "The girls team is willing to work hard and will be successful this season," Beard said in an email. "It will be nice to see a full team that can score after not having enough last year."

ELWOOD

Head Coach: Marc Lickliter (1st season); Key Returning Athletes: Katelyn Foor, Anna Booksot; Newcomers to Watch: Lainy Brown, Keya Gross, Alora Coble, Emma Vanover, Olivia Simmons

Season Outlook: "Just like the boys, the girls have really put forth the effort during our first week of practice," Lickliter said. "Fortunately, all of them ran this summer with (former coach Ethan Evans) so that they have a base and we aren't starting from scratch. I know that Katelyn advanced past the sectional last year and absolutely has the potential to go even further this season."

FRANKTON

Head Coach: Andre Lo; Key Loss: Katelyn Browning; Expected to Return: Jewell Cline, Emma Sheward, Alicia Finney, Maddie Benton, Mariah Pierce

LAPEL

Head Coach: Darrell Richardson (33rd season); 2021: Two regional qualifiers; Key Loss: Ashlyn Doster (transfer); Key Returning Athlete: Hannah Combs; Newcomers to Watch: Sophie Goodwin, Avery Johnson

Season Outlook: "(The) girls team is still searching for some members to show up to fill out the team," Richardson said. "Hoping to get Hannah back to regional and maybe Sophie when she is not playing soccer."

LIBERTY CHRISTIAN

Head Coach: Doug Osselaer (1st season); Key Loss: Isabella Smith; Expected to Return: Ella Wall

MADISON-GRANT

Head Coach: T.J. Herniak; 2021: Mary Mayfield — Regional qualifier; Key Losses: Mayfield, Emma Ewer; Key Returning Athletes: Hannah Warrell, Makennah Clouse; Newcomers to Watch: Liz Winchester, Lilly Robinson, Abbey Brown; Potential Breakout: Warrell

Season Outlook: "After graduating seven senior runners, MG girls cross country will look to our younger runners to continue to build upon the successes of that senior class," Herniak said in an email. "On a team that will be very young, the Argylls will look to build a new foundation on which they can have future success."

PENDLETON HEIGHTS

Head Coach: Melissa Hagerman (19th season); 2021: Madison County champion, advanced to semistate; Key Losses: Laney Ricker, Berkeley Lord, Ella Dixon, Catherine Dudley, Claire Wittkamper, Katie Jones; Key Returning Athletes: Ava Jarrell, Jaycee Thurman, Julieanne Spejewski, Hadley Walker, Abby Davidson, Olivia Welpott; Newcomer to Watch: Lily Hesler; Potential Breakout: Jarrell, Thurman

Season Outlook: "We graduated a solid group of girls last year," Hagerman said in an email. "They were great leaders. We are working on filling those gaps and have put in some quality work over the summer. We lost the HHC conference by one point last year and would like to work to take that title this year. The team is also working to win county and advance as a team to semi-state and of course the state meet. The team is smaller in numbers this year, but the quality of returning runners and our new runners will make up for the size of the team."

SHENANDOAH

Head Coach: John Davis (7th season); 2021: Advanced to regional; Key Losses: Abby Buskirk, Anna VanBuskirk, Kayci Hill; Expected to Return: Madison Cooper; Newcomers to Watch: Brooklyn VanBuskirk, Halle Sanders; Potential Breakout: Brooklyn VanBuskirk

Season Outlook: "This is a rebuilding year," Davis said in an email.

Contact Rob Hunt at rob.hunt@heraldbulletin.com or 765-640-4886.