Cross Country season off and running
Cross Country practices started two weeks ago, which is later than usual, according to Coach Bill Jansen.
With the team’s first meet at Hillsboro against Hillsboro/Central Valley today, practices have been focusing on getting runners ready in a short amount of time.
“This is as late as we ever start, so it’s weird,” Jansen said. “Usually we’ve had two weeks of practice already by this time, but it’s a little bit different this year.”
Seniors Dessa Denich and Tristin Lunde are returning for the girls’ team. With Lunde as the second runner at state last year, Jansen said he will be looking to her to lead the younger runners on the team this year.
The girls’ team is fortunate to have nine returners of the 10 that ran at state last year, including sophomore Kristina Brossart, who was all-region and all-state. Juniors Karsyn Hager and Anni Stier, as well as sophomore Ellie Duchscherer are top runners for the team who are also back this year.
“We’re feeling pretty good [on the girls’ side]. As long as we can stay healthy, things really look up,” Jansen said, explaining that the girls are working harder this year after last year’s third place finish at state.
On the boys’ side, the team lost four of its top 10 runners, including three seniors. The boys were runner-up at state last year, so this year’s team is expected to step up to the same level.
“We’re going to have to fill some holes,” Jansen said. “New Town has won state a bunch of times, I think 11 out of the last 13, and we won the other two. We’d like to put a little more pressure on them and win this year, but we feel good.”
Top returners for the boys’ team are junior Riley Zachmeier, and sophomores Kadin Neppl and Dawson Schepp. Jansen is also hoping that freshmen Warren Walker and Cole Wentz, as well as sophomore Jacob Arnold will step up for the team this year.