Warrior runners paced by core of state qualifiers


Returning as MHS cross-country veterans this season are: back row (from left), Brandon Meierhoff, Michael Kirkpatrick, Anna Laurin, Louis Holt, Ryan Jones and Derek Stuchlik; front row, Taylor Harms, Danae Edwards, Jaclyn DeForest, Kaylyn Spencer and Jessie Taylor.

The Marion High School boys? cross-country team returns senior state medalist Ryan Jones and senior qualifier Louis Holt to set the pace for a large, young team.

Juniors Michael Kirkpatrick and Brandon Meierhoff are primed to retain the varsity spots they earned last year.

Kirkpatrick, according to coach Bethany Carlson, has ?showed a lot of improvement from the previous year.?

Jordan Hett leads a group of incoming freshmen that also includes Clark Kroupa, Patrick McCarty, Jacob Cope and Nicholas Davies.

?(Davies) is in his third year of cross country as a freshman,? Carlson said. ?(Hett) had a great middle-school season. He has great running form and is a hard worker.?

The boys? team placed sixth in the Mid-Central Activities Association league race and fifth at the Southeast of Saline regional.

Led by 2009 graduate Camille Christensen, the girls? team placed fifth at the league race and fourth at the regional.

Senior Jaclyn DeForest, who placed fifth in the league, is the team?s top returning runner and ?will most likely be our No. 1 runner this season,? Carlson said. ?Jaclyn is a great senior leader. She leads by example.?

Fellow seniors Danae Edwards and Anna Laurin have battled injury?Edwards missed most of last season, and Laurin is currently injured?but Carlson has high hopes for both.

She said: ?It will be great to see (Edwards) competing again at full strength…. We hope to have (Laurin) healed and competing in the upcoming season.?

Two sophomores return to the girls? team. Taylor Harms will compete on courses with smooth footing and, including middle-school experience, Jessie Taylor is starting her fourth year in the program.

Freshmen Whitney Christen?sen, Elizabeth Goentzel, Cassandra McPhail, Erin Meierhoff and Monica Spachek will also run for the Warriors.

Including the middle school program, Goentzel and Spachek are the most experienced competitors in the group.

?My goal is for our team to be more competitive at league, regionals and, hopefully, state?especially on the boys? side,? Carlson said. ?Our boys? team has two seniors who competed at the state level (and) I?m hoping they will step up.?

Marion?s season begins Thursday at Abilene.

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