Coming off a successful season last year, Bellville cross country head coach Sharon Carter sees much of the same for the road ahead despite graduating a handful of seniors on the girls’ side.
No problem, a new crop of proven junior varsity runners will look to step up and take advantage of their youth and continue carrying the torch to area and regional championship meets.
“I think we’re shaping up pretty good; we’re starting fresh with the girls, we graduated about seven seniors last year,” Carter said. “The girls are in for it, we’ve been working hard since July and I think we’ll be OK.”
On the boys’ side of things, some of the returning members gained experience from the deep postseason of last year and are hungry for more.
“We have most of our boys returning and their minds are set on getting that district championship again,” she said. “This group is young; the boys have that taste of the championship, so they want more of that. They’ve been working together this year, there’s no bickering, there’s not a whole lot of negativity, they’re all positive.”
Some of those male competitors who will help maintain the good feelings are Brandon Whetzel, Gabriel Spahn, Hayden Evans, and Hayden Mahlmann; “those guys are going to be great add-ons for us,” Carter said.
On the other end of the spectrum, Makenzie Lewis serves as the lone varsity runner to return for another year under Carter while Rileigh Dinges and Alley El-Kasih will look to make the step up from junior varsity.
“When they’re young that helps, you can shape them and form them, get them to where they need to be and get their minds right and that’s half the battle, once their minds are made up that that’s what they want to do,” the coach said.
She added that they certainly have been showing that they’re here to stay after this summer.
“They want to (seize this moment) it’s just getting their mindset geared to hard work and being committed,” Carter said. “It’s kind of hard to get up for 6 o’clock in the morning while everyone else is still in bed sleeping but once they get past that, they’re working their butts off.”