WEST ALEXANDRIA — Twin Valley South experienced two different seasons last year. Their boys unit did not have enough runners to qualify in team standings while their girl runners made history by qualifying, as a team, for the state meet.
While the boys team was low on athletes last year, their expectations are high coming into this season. All three runners from last season – Matt Hemmelgarn, Brendon Gallaher, and Andrew McGuire – return. They also add Chris French, Curtis Hittle, Brandan Wright, and Jack Weaver to the mix.
“[Hemmelgarn] made some big strides during track last spring, not just improving the times he ran, but also in confidence. I look for him to have a good fall season,” said head coach Richie Faber.
Along with Hemmelgarn and Gallaher, the team’s lone senior – McGuire – has also made big improvements, getting his finishing time down to the 18-minute mark.
“I am excited to see what this group can do. We have a group that will become a threat and has the potential to get into the top three in the [Cross County Conference] and, if things go well, maybe qualify to the regional meet,” said Faber.
On the girls side, Faber is interested in seeing what they do as an encore performance. They return the majority of their runners from last season, but lose Abbi Saul and Lindsay Creech, both who played big parts in last year’s success.
“Both brought talented to the team but perhaps more importantly both brought the inspiration to pursue our goal of making the state meet,” said Faber.
They return juniors Megan Wright, Madison Wright and Emily Hutchings and sophomore Grace Stewart from last season. All four are expected to be cornerstones to the team’s success.
“Those four with their talent and experience, will be at the core of the team and have the individual talent to do great things again this year,” said Faber. “Between the returners and those new to the high school team this year, we should be able to make some noise again this season. I am excited to see if we can make another run like we did a year ago. We are close.”
Joining those four on the roster are Tori Buffenbarger and Kaitlin Overholtz.
South kicks their season off on Saturday, August 23 at Milton Union for the Bob Schul Invitational. The following Saturday, August 30, they travel to Greenville for the Treaty City Invitational as well.
Jeremy Erskine may be reached at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH