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Wilkins, Hotek ready to lead Hawks to successful season

Sabrina Wilkins

There’s no question that Skyline junior Sabrina Wilkins and senior Carrie Hotek are two key pieces of the Hawks’ girls cross country team.

The pair advanced to the Class 3 State Championships last season with Wilkins finishing 10th and Hotek 23rd.

This season they are hoping to get back to that same level and even bring their teammates.

“I love all the girls on the team this season,” Hotek said. “They’re really, really great characters and now we just got to get a little bit of speed to match the great personalities. So I’m just excited what we can do with the practices. We’ve been working on some tough speed workouts, and hopefully (Skyline) coach (Rodger Seemiller) can just get us up to a new level.”

Hotek is trying something new with her race strategy this season. She is trying to just stay with Wilkins throughout the race, instead of going out too fast from the beginning of the race. Wilkins likes to be patient early and then wait for the right time to pick up her pace.

Carrie Hotek

It worked out well for the pair on Saturday in the Central Invitational as Wilkins finished third and Hotek was fourth.

Seemiller said he’s excited about what the duo can do if they work together all season.

“(Hotek is) gung-ho all through and through, and she goes out hard,” Seemiller said. “And that tends to be a problem. So we’re trying to hold her back a little bit because Wilkins already has it figured out. She starts out and then brings it hard and she’s sneaky about it. So we’re going to try to get them to work together. And I think Hotek will make Wilkins work hard and Wilkins will provide strategy for Hotek. So the two of them are going to mesh, and I think that’s going to pay off big time down the road.”

Wilkins said that she loves being on the same team as Hotek.

“We push each other,” Wilkins said. “If she’s ahead of me, she’ll push me, and I’ll try to catch up to her. And if I’m ahead of her, she’ll try to catch up to me.”

Seemiller said that he thinks Hotek and Wilkins can be very successful this season.

“Hotek’s working real hard as usual. I would expect nothing less from her,” he said. “Wilkins is working harder than ever. I think she’s committed to the sport now. And I think they’ll be a force to be reckoned with down the road.”

Seniors Emily Arp, Kelsie Keene and Madison Tingle rounded out the Hawks’ Top 5 runners in the Central Invitational.

Skyline’s boys team has plenty of reasons to feel good about this season. Seemiller said he has a squad of 14 runners and he sees a lot of promise in them.

The Hawks are without last year’s top runner, Joseph Hillaert, due to an injury. However, Seemiller said he expects to have Hillaert back soon.

“I think if we can get them to mesh together, and some of the younger ones are coming on, I think they can be an entity later on in the year. We just got to get them all there and keep them working hard.”

The Hawks only have two seniors on the team. Senior Micah Winningham was the team’s top performer in the Central Invitational on Saturday. Junior Jordan Price, junior Walker Wilkins, senior Nicholas Schwentker and freshman Logan Bailey were in the top five runners for Skyline on Saturday.

The Hawks have three freshmen on the squad. Seemiller said that he’d like for his team to be competitive with each other all season and be able to run close together.

“We got a good group of guys behind that (Top 5),” he said. “I’d like it to be clumped together. I’d like to see these young guys get to where you never know who your four, five, six and seven are going to be on any given day. And that’s probably good too if you got all that potential and you use it.”