GALION — The members of the boys cross country team for Northmor High School, once again coached by Kevin Ruhl with assistant Jordan Whisler, are off in running in their 2019 season.
Despite losing a large amount (seven runners) to graduation in the spring of 2018 and one to transfer (Amil Upchurch moved back to Ontario), the Golden Knights return three, key contributors in 2019 in the likes of seniors Gavvin Keen and Austin Amens, as well as junior Kooper Keen. These three runners were a part of the boys team that finished third overall in a stacked, Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference and placed as runner-ups in the central district meet. As a whole, Northmor’s boys team saw their season end at regionals following a seventh place finish.
Joining the key returnees this fall will be a pair of freshman, Connor Radojcsics and Lucas Weaver, who will, according to Ruhl in an email, “definitely have a great chance to race their way onto the varsity team.”
Youth appears to be the story at the beginning of ‘19 for Ruhl, Whisler and the Knights. Of the 15 runners on the team, only Gavvin Keen and Austin Amens are seniors.
Ruhl touches on that fact, “As a result of being somewhat young and inexperienced, I think it might take us a while to get the times that will be necessary to compete for invitational titles as a team. However, we have three individuals who should be battling to be in the top-10 of every race.”
Invitationals and post-season aside, the Golden Knights must still contend with another year of talent within the KMAC.
“Mount Gilead and Fredericktown probably have the top two teams to begin the season,” says Ruhl. “I also look for East Knox to have a really good team this season. We look forward to racing these top teams and seeing if we can get our times to go in the right direction,” wraps the head coach.
The season officially kicked-off on Monday, August 19 with the running of the Northmor High School Cross Country Invitational in which the hosting Knights nabbed third in the field, finishing behind conference foes Fredericktown and Highland.
GALION — Unlike the boys team representing Northmor, the Lady Golden Knights enter the 2019 season with their entire roster from a season ago, as well as some newcomers looking to make an impact for veteran head coach Mark Yaussy and assistant coach Jordan Beard.
The girls team lost zero runners to graduation in 2018 and hope that the leadership moving forward will help propel them to even more success than that of a season ago.
“We have a nice mixture of experience and youth,” begins the 22-year head coach. “The seniors are great leaders and role models and we have several very promising young runners but of course, injuries are always concern. We need to do a better job of tightening up our ‘packs’.”
Among that experience mentioned above are six State Meet qualifiers from 2018 in the likes of seniors: Juliana DiTullio, Sabrina Kelley and Carolyn McGaulley as well as juniors: Olivia Goodson, Julia Kanagy and Bailey Snyder. Maddison Yaussy also returns for her sophomore season following earning her first varsity letter in 2018.
Joining that experienced crew for Yaussy and Beard are freshmen: Lauren and Riley Johnson, Felicia Galleher, Emilee Jordan and Sydney Kelley as well as sophomore Kahlene Brinkman.
Looking forward, Yaussy offered the following, “we always have a goal of competing in every meet. We hope to really peak at the end of the season and compete at the state meet yet again.”
The KMAC, much like on the boys side of competition, is once again loaded with depth in talent from most every team.
“Mount Gilead will be very good again. Fredricktown is very good and have a great depth of talent. Centerburg returns a number of their conference winning team from last year…We hope to be in the mix and run well at the conference meet. Our league is very tough and competitive with four teams competing in the state meet last year,” finishes Yaussy.
The Lady Golden Knights were also in action on Monday, August 19 as they too hosted the NHS XC Invite and, when all was said and done, were crowned team champions. Northmor tallied 29 points in the win, holding off conference foe and runner-ups, Fredericktown (42 points).