WEST ALEXANDRIA — The Twin Valley South cross country team is looking to break a long streak of failing to bring home a team conference title. Coach Richie Faber hopes to use his experience to help the program improve.
“Last season, the girls had some talent, but just didn’t have enough numbers to compete as a team,” said Faber, who is going into his eighth season at South.
He is also the boys’ coach. “The boys were a pretty young group. Some middle school kids are moving up as freshmen, so they can be a help.”
For the boys, seniors Matt Hemmelgarn and Chris French will lead a young boys’ team comprised of freshmen and sophomores. The girls will be led by junior sisters Madison and Megan Wright. Sophomore Grace Stewart figures to be a prominent contributor to the girls team, according to Faber. Also joining the boys are sophomores Seth Craft, Curtis Hittle, and Brandan Wright.
“Megan and Madison both are very talented,” Faber said. “Both have been to the state meet individually, so hopefully we get them back to that this year. For the guys, Hemmelgarn made it to state last year. Chris French has come along over the years and has stepped up. He’s a sprinter in track but runs long distance here. (Brandan) Wright ran pretty well as a freshman, I’m looking for big things out of him this year.”
Some new faces will be joining the teams. For the girls, Maggie Johnson and Maddyn McQueen are two freshmen who will make the roster after running in junior high. “I think they will help us out, they seem to just get better and better over time,” Faber said. “For the boys, Chris Keener has been looking really good. I think he will be running with the top guys in mid-season if not from the start of the season,”
Kyle Saul is another talented freshman, very consistent,” Faber said. “As he progresses and gets experienced in the 5K, I think he’ll get better. Logan White has shown talent in track. For him, it’s a learning curve on the long distances.
“I like a lot of things we’ve done to build this program up. The kids haven into the sport and I like seeing that.”
South’s schedule has the team on the road, every Saturday, to all events this season. The first meet will be the Bob Schul Invite at Milton-Union, on Saturday, Aug. 27.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH.