With one returning state qualifier, Marion cross country has a senior-laden boys? team and a girls? team trying to fill varsity slots.
The top returner for the boys is Jordan Hett. As a freshman, Hett ran to a second-place finish in the Mid-Central Activities Association league meet and placed ninth at state.
Joining Hett on the varsity are three seniors. Michael Kirkpatrick, Brandon Meierhoff and Darren Stuchlick all will be looked to for leadership, especially Meierhoff.
?He?s the one I can rely on the most as a leader,? said Marion coach Bethany Carlson.
Stuchlick spent his summer committed to running.
?He put in a lot more miles this summer than what he ever has,? Carlson said. ?I?m excited to see how much his time will drop.?
Carlson expects to see results from the off-season work.
?I?m hoping the team will be stronger, due to the fact the boys are a year older and some of them have logged summer miles.?
Jacob Cope, Clark Kropa and Patrick McCarty will also run varsity.
The Marion girls, meanwhile, return one runner and have a few newcomers vying for varsity spots.
The lone returner is Elizabeth Goentzel, who will run in the top spot. Sarah Eurit will compete as the No. 2 runner. The rest of the spots in the lineup are up for grabs.
Marion starts its season Sept. 2 at Abilene.