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Vikings see good running ahead - HERALD PRESS
August 13, 2012Huntington North High School
Vikings see good running ahead
By John Dempsey email@example.com | Sunday, August 12, 2012
Huntington North is looking ahead to a good cross country season with a strong core of runners, including from left, Hannah Stoffel, Marissa Jamison, Kayla Patrick, Lauren Daas, Karson Rowe, Robyn Karst, Marie Ditzler and Cassidy Johnson.
Huntington North girls cross country coach Don Cotton has about anything a coach could ask for in a team.
With 18 girls out for the squad, the Vikings have experience with nine seniors and six of their top seven runners from a year ago back as well. One of those girls went to the state meet as an individual.
Plus, they have a pair of freshmen who the coach believes will be making an immediate impact.
Yet, the numbers worry him.
“We’ve dropped in numbers. Three years ago, we had 30 girls and we had 24 last season,” Cotton said. “With nine seniors, it might really drop off next year. We just haven’t seen the big numbers coming in with the other classes.”
The Vikings have just eight girls in the lower three grades, he pointed out.
That’s next year, however, and he’s really looking ahead to this season.
“Of our top seven girls from last year, we have six of them back. Our only loss was Nicole Smith who ran fourth or fifth most of the time,” he said. “We have a good group back who had a good summer and we’re looking a very good year.”
That group includes Robyn Karst, a senior who ran No. 1 for Huntington and was the sectional and regional individual champion. She went on to finish 19th at the state meet.
Also back from the core of the team are seniors Karson Rowe, Marie Distzler and Kayla Patrick, junior Cassidy Johnson and sophomore Emily Eherenman.
Adding to that group are two freshmen who Cotton anticipates will have an impact – Hannah Stoffel and Marissa Jamison.
Both were successful runners in seventh and eighth grade and we’ve been waiting on them to get to the high school,” the coach said. “Hannah is already challenging for number one and is doing well in practice. We don’t know how she’ll do in a 3K in competition.
“Marissa looks to run within the top four or five. That’s why we expect both of them to contribute.”
Another runner who he believes will make an impact is senior Lauren Daas.
“Lauren had a bout with mononucleosis last season and she had some real difficulty breathing. She was among our top runners prior to last year and dropped out due to the illness,” Cotton said. “She certainly could be back and is looking good in practice.”
Eherenman has been dealing with knee problems and struggled.
“She probably won’t be in our top group at the start of the season but she’s capable of being there if she gets her knee healthy again,” the coach said.
The Vikings go to the DeKalb Conditioner Tuesday, a non-scoring meet, before hosting their own invitational Saturday.
“I think we’re looking for a pretty good season. We have certain meets we’re going to focus on and there are some off meets where we might rest our leaders and let the other girls get their chance to run varsity,” Cotton said.
Their own race is one they’re definitely focusing on.
“Between Tuesday and Saturday, we’ll get ready to have a good showing at the Huntington Invitational. There are some very good teams in it, including Carroll, which is typically one of the top teams in the Fort Wayne Semistate,” he said. “We’re looking forward to get going.”