Warren County has some lofty goals for the upcoming boys and girls cross country seasons, and the teams have good reasons to think they will achieve them.
Warren County’s boys team advanced to the Class 3 Cross County State Championships last year, and now their goal is to do it again.
Warren County junior DJ Staton said if the newcomers on the team continue to mesh well with experienced runners, the Wildcats should be fine.
“I feel like so far we’re doing good,” Staton said. “We have a lot of new kids so if we can get them straightened out and get them to understand what they got to do, then we’ll be fine.”
The boys team is off to a fast start after finishing third in the Central Invitational this past weekend, despite missing two of its usual Top 5 runners in Bailey Grant and Nate Brown. The Wildcats had two freshman finish in their Top 5 in Saturday’s meet. Freshmen Malachi Quinn and Patrick Treutlein were both in Warren County’s Top 5 runners.
Warren County coach Mike Tanner said he’s excited for the group of nine freshmen who are on the team this season.
“(Quinn) was third for us and then there’s a couple of young guys behind him,” Tanner said. “And they just keep coming through there one behind the other. It’s great to watch.”
The combination of youth and experience should work well for the Wildcats all season.
They also have some quality competition that they will be facing. They will be running in the Eastern Mennonite Invitational in two weeks, and Tanner said he wants his team to compete against the best – no matter the classification.
“I tell my guys all the time that whoever we line up against we should be able to compete with them,” Tanner said.
Staton just missed making all-state last season as he finished 17th in the Class 3 Championships. Staton said he has set high goals for himself this season.
“I want to push myself this year to make all-state,” Staton said. “I got close last year. I think if I push myself, it’s definitely a realistic goal.”
Tanner is in his first year as Warren County’s head coach, but he has plenty of experience at the helm. He was the head coach at Skyline for a number of years.
Warren County’s girls program also has the goal of making it to the state meet, something they just missed out on last season. They finished one spot short of qualifying for the state meet last year by finishing fourth in the Region 3B meet (the Top 3 teams qualified).
Warren County sophomore Whitley Doyon also just missed qualifying for states individually by two spots. She said it has definitely added motivation for herself and the team.
“I really want to go to states, and the whole team wants to go,” Doyon said. “I really want the whole team to go. The team is like a family, and you want your whole family with you.”
The Wildcats placed third in the first meet of the season, the Central Invitational, on Saturday despite only having seven runners.
The team has only eight runners on the squad, and one of them was not able to be there. Doyon and junior Kiersten Tanner will be looking to lead the way, but despite small numbers, the team has depth.
The Wildcats had three runners finish from 23rd to 28th in the Central Invitational, their No. 3, 4 and 5 runners.
Mike Tanner said he’s been happy with the girls squad, which doesn’t have any seniors, and added two freshmen to the team this season – Leah Webster and Ryleigh Breeden.
“The team that ended last year they ran the best they could at regionals, and I think they did well,” Mike Tanner said. “Moving forward with those two new runners we have, I think with the amount we have on the team I think we can do well.”