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Falcons in rebuilding mode in boys cross country

Melissa Wright

WOODSTOCK – Central’s boys cross country program is in a rebuilding mode.

The last three years the team has finished in the top three in the state in Class 2. However, the Falcons lost some key pieces to their team to graduation. Central coach Melissa Wright said she thinks her young team is ready for the challenge ahead.

“We are definitely in a rebuilding year and looking forward to that,” Wright said. “I think as the season progresses, we’re going to see some young men step up and fill those roles. I think that’s going to take some time.”

Central placed third in the Class 2 state meet last year after finishing second the previous two seasons.

Not only did the Falcons lose last year’s seniors to graduation, but Chase Rimel, who would have been the team’s top returner, transferred to another school a week after cross country practice started. Rimel and graduated seniors Mason Lucy-Speidel and Gus Wightman each earned all-state honors (Top-15 finish) last season.

Central’s boys team has only two seniors, Aram Del Junco and Anthony Piselli, who was Central’s No. 6 runner in last year’s Class 2 state meet. Sophomore Shawn Purdy was the Falcons’ No. 7 runner in last year’s state meet but had a strong track season in the spring, especially in the 3,200-meter run.

“I’m hoping I can incorporate what I did in the two-mile (3,200-meter run) into the three-mile,” Purdy said. “And I just want to try to help the team as much as I can and just be a stronger leader.”

Purdy said that he feels like the Falcons can still have a good season. He said the team learned a lot from last year’s leaders.

“Last year was definitely a lot better,” he said. “We had all the seniors to look up to and they all left this year. I think it is a little bit of a wake-up call, but we’re going to have to push a lot harder.”

Wright said in addition to Purdy and Piselli, she’s expecting good things from junior Jonathan Cardoso and sophomores Juan Rojas Bonilla and Dylan Summitt.

She said that it will take time, but she still has plenty of confidence in the runners on the boys team.

“We’re in a transitional phase right now,” Wright said. “But these kids have been around for quite a long time and they were used to looking up to (last year’s seniors). And now they’re trying to figure out what their roles are as teammates and leaders – and we’re working on that now.”

Central opens its cross country season by hosting the Central Invitational at 9 p.m. on Aug. 25.