The Rossville boys’ cross country team had quite the season last year, advancing all the way to the semistate following a fifth- and fourth-place finishes in the sectional and regional, respectively.
The semistate didn’t go exactly as planned, as the Hornets finished 19th out of 20 teams. But with six of their top seven runners returning, anything less than a return trip to the New Prairie Semistate would be a disappointment.
Leading the way for the Hornets will be sophomore Solomon Heffernan, who finished 14th in the sectional and 18th in the regional last year. Senior Austin Stewart made a huge splash last year and returns as Rossville’s number two runner, followed by junior Austin Meyers, sophomore Ben Petty, senior Seth Waldron and sophomore Austin Disinger.
Also out for the team this year is sophomores Shayden Hughes and Josiah Cropp, along with freshman Devin Hodgen.
Clinton Central’s boys’ team finished 10th out of 11 teams at last year’s sectional and loses its top runner in Lee Camden. Sophomore Logan Crum is expected to lead the way. Junior Adam Miller, senior Cameron Campbell and senior Matt Rogers also return from the sectional team.
Options in the lineup include seniors Tyler Eads and Connor Mullin, juniors Lewis Reynolds, Nick Davidson and Ryon Herin, sophomores Curtis Smith and Devin George, and freshman Chandler Watson.
Clinton Prairie has a large roster, with 13 runners – eight of them seniors. The team’s seven runners from the sectional all return, and the top four runners – Drew Rodehan, Blake Lehr, Joe Martinez and Cy Dieter – are all seniors. They were also the top four runners for CP at the sectional.
Sophomore Korey Murphy, the number five runner at the sectional, also returns.
Rounding out the top seven are sophomore Merrick McGraw and senior Stephen Good. Three other senior newcomers, Tyler Casey, Brendin Humrickhouse and James Morris, will try to crack the lineup. Other runners include sophomore Thomas Hill and freshmen Austin Biery and Nick Stephens.
Just one year ago, Clinton Central was a surprise regional qualifier following a fourth-place finish in the sectional. The runner who powered that move, then-freshman Sami Smith, transferred to West Lafayette this year. Smith was the team’s No. 1 runner all season and was an all-state selection and semistate qualifier.
Despite Smith’s defection, nearly everyone else returns. Junior Leilah Miller will be the team’s No. 1 runner, with sophomore Katelyn Ellis, sophomore Kelly Fox, senior Maisley Strange and junior Baylee Crum all back from the team’s sectional roster.
A pair of senior newcomers, Holli Kercheval and Emily Wyrick, hope to be contributors to the squad this year as will be a junior newcomer, Anna Scott. Sophomore Madigan Strange is back while freshman Katie Crawford could also be contributors.
Rossville returns one of the area’s top runners in senior Hannah Alling, a semistate qualifier last year after placing 14th in the sectional and 13th in the regional. Although No. 2 runner Adrian Koehler-Marsh has graduated, the Hornets do return their number 3 and 5 runners, senior Rena Gascho and sophomore Brooke Hughes.
Rounding out the roster are junior Kelsey Cook and three freshmen: Lauren Bright, Kaitlyn Mills and Katie Hutsell.
Clinton Prairie will not tally any team scores this year – they only have four runners: seniors Chanda Brown and Stephanie Schrock, and juniors Paige Schoonveld and Emma Tolley. Schrock is team’s top returner and Schoonveld is a newcomer after playing volleyball last year.
Rossville’s Austin Meyers (right) is one of six returnees from last year’s team that qualified for semistate.