Marion runners focus on individual improvement

The Marion High School cross-country program will have two seniors?both on the girls? team?and five juniors leading the way.

Ryan Jones and Louis Holt return to fuel a boys? squad that will be without three of last season?s top five runners.

?Ryan will most likely be our No. 1 runner with Louis close behind,? coach Bethany Carlson said.

Both qualified for the state meet and, said Carlson, ?ran well for being sophomores.?

Following Jones and Holt to the finish line will be sophomores Brandon Meierhoff, Michael Kirkpatrick, Andy Shipman and senior exchange student Philip Gu.

?Andy Shipman just came out for cross country, but he?s a pretty good track runner, so I don?t know exactly what to expect from him,? Carlson said. ?I do know he?s competitive enough that he?ll be working toward being our top runner.?

Both teams will have a solid top two, but Carlson said that ?as far as depth, we don?t have a lot of depth, and you have to have five pretty good runners to be competitive as a team.?

Isaac Hett, Eliot Hett and Brady Hudson are not out for the boys? team after running in the Marion top five last season.

?Its been a lot different this year, as the middle school team has grown,? Carlson said. ?I have nine middle schoolers and 19 high schoolers.?

Of the 19 vying for varsity spots, 13 have run before. There are 10 girls and nine boys on the high school squad.

Camille Christensen and Amanda Richmond are the seniors on the girls? squad, and Carlson has been impressed with Richmond?s off-season work.

?Amanda has been keeping up with Camille so far,? Carlson said. ?I know she put in a lot of miles training wise over the summer.

?Right now, Camille and Amanda are fighting for that top varsity position,? Carlson said. ?Camille had some leg injury issues last year, but we?ve got that under control this year, and we?re hoping to get her back to state.?

Christensen qualified as a sophomore. Richmond would be a first-time qualifier for state.

Juniors Jaclyn DeForest, Bridget Lundy and Anna Laurin will likely fill in behind them.

Junior Danae Edwards will also be in the varsity mix, as will freshmen Taylor Harms and Alex Young.

Outlook

Marion opens Sept. 4 at Abilene. Which Warriors will run the varsity race is determined by time trials, during which Christensen edged Richmond to be No. 1 on the girls? team.

The boys? time trial put Ryan Jones in the lead, with Shipman, Meierhoff and Holt close behind.

In light of the time trial, Carlson and assistant coach Rebecca Pederson expect the season to be ?more about making individual improvements with the overall hope of being competitive as a team at each meet.?