New coach to lead MHS runners

These athletes comprise the Marion cross-country team this season: front row (from left) Devin Regnier, Tyler Arocha, Ethan Darnall; (back row) Luisa Junqueira, Bethany Grimmett, Emily Hague, Meggan Frese, AJ Arterburn. Not pictured: Colin Williams.
These athletes comprise the Marion cross-country team this season: front row (from left) Devin Regnier, Tyler Arocha, Ethan Darnall; (back row) Luisa Junqueira, Bethany Grimmett, Emily Hague, Meggan Frese, AJ Arterburn. Not pictured: Colin Williams.
The Marion cross-country team will be under new leadership this season with first-year coach Dmitry Bucklin taking the reins.

Originally from Minne­sota, Bucklin came to Kansas to attend college, first at Hesston, then at Bethel. He graduated from Bethel in 2012 and comes to Marion from St. John’s Catholic School in Beloit.

Bucklin ran cross-country in high school, but this is his first year to coach the sport, he said.

Boys—With four boys on the roster, Marion will not field a full team this season. The Warriors did not graduate any senior boys last year.

Returning to anchor the team is junior Colin Williams, who was a state-qualifier in 2015. Williams covered the 5-kilometer course at Lawrence’s Rim Rock Farm in 18 minutes, 50 seconds to place 57th in Class 3A. He turned in a season-best time of 17:39.04 last year at the Heart of America meet at Bennington.

“Based on what I’ve worked with him so far, (Colin’s) the kind of runner who will always give 100 percent, even at practice,” Buck­lin said. “I fully expect he will make it to state without too much trouble this year.”

Tyler Arocha is Marion’s sole returning senior. He ran a season-best 19:18.68 at the league meet.

“I think Tyler has a lot of potential,” Bucklin said. “It will just be taking the initiative to start strong at the races and get toward the front right away.”

Also returning is sophomore Ethan Darnall. His season-best time was 19:57.81, attained at Bennington.

“(Ethan) and Colin usually run together,” Bucklin said. “He’s a strong runner. I think he has a lot of potential, too.”

Senior Devin Regnier joins the team this year.

“This is his first year for cross country,” Bucklin said. “He’s going to be one of the runners to really look for as a new runner.”

Girls—Marion will field a full varsity team with a roster of five runners. How­ever, the Warriors will compete without graduated seniors McKenzee Remmers, Shyla Harris and Brittany Hett.

Senior state-qualifier Emily Hague returns to anchor the team. For the first time, girls competed in 5-k races, and Hague covered the course at Rim Rock in 21 minutes, 14 seconds, good for a 14th place a year ago. She turned in a season-best 20:48.69 at the league meet at Bennington.

“Emily has definitely been pushing herself during practice,” Bucklin said. “It’s been good to see Emily and the other runners progress. It’s amazing what a week and a half of practice can do. (Emily) is fully determined to make it to state. Especially with a sport like cross country, you need that good and positive attitude to do that.”

Two additional athletes return: junior Meggan Frese and sophomore AJ Arter­burn. Bucklin said both have potential to have successful seasons. Frese’s season-best time last year was 21:37.78, while Arterburn’s was 26:01.81.

Newcomers this year are junior Luisa Junqueira and freshman Bethany Grim­mett.

“I have been very pleased with Luisa,” Bucklin said. “What’s been great about Luisa is that her attitude is always good, and it’s very infectious with the team.

“I think Bethany as a runner (has) a lot of potential. She needs to attach herself to a leading starting runner and stick with them.”

Outlook

While making it to state is the goal for cross-country runners, Bucklin said a successful season is marked by more than that. Success can also be measured by progress.

“I hope when the season ends, every runner can look back and see that they’ve progressed but also can see it was fun, too,” he said.

Marion will begin its season Sept. 1 at Abilene.