It's been a promising season so far for the Warren High cross country teams.
The Warriors, led by first year head coach Debbie Proctor, will be competing in the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League championship meet Saturday at Logan.
Proctor expects big things out of her teams at the meet.
Photo courtesy of Maryanne Grose
Marietta High’s Avery Phillips attempts to keep pace during a cross country race this fall.
"I expect us to win," Proctor said. "I think the boys will be fine. The girls will have to work a little harder, but I really see us as the favorites."
The boys' team is led by Parker Blain and Kyle Conley. Hannah Dugan and Christin Howell are the top runners for the girls' team.
Proctor admitted the season did not start off well, but the team has rebounded well.
"The season started off fairly rough," Proctor said. "But we trained well, stayed injury-free, which is big, and we've just kept getting better and better."
The SEOAL meet will ultimately come down to the runners, Proctor said. "It's gonna depend on the runners" she explained. "The weather is supposed to be good. It will come down to how the runners feel and how they perform."
The Marietta High cross country teams are young and rebuilding going into the ECOL tournament.
The Tigers will be running Saturday at Cambridge, and while the Dale Leeper-coached Marietta teams are not quite where they want to be yet, they believe they are building well for the next couple of years. "As a coach, it's a bit of a challenge to rebuild," Leeper said. "We're certainly rebuilding. Our ninth and tenth graders are coming along well, but they're still underclassmen. You don't build Rome overnight."
Leeper is also impressed with the way the Marietta Middle School teams are running this year. "The middle school teams are having phenomenal years," Leeper said.
"The high school teams are making substantial progress, and putting time in. There is a lot of individual progress being made. We're laying the foundation for the future."
Individually for the Marietta boys, senior Mitchell Grose is having a good senior season. Grose has already won two races this season going into the ECOL championship, and is coming off of a sixth place finish at a race in Pickerington North High. "He has been injury plagued," Leeper said. "He started off rusty, but he's improved with every race. I expect him to keep improving."
Along with Grose, the boys' team is led by seniors Avery Phillips and Dalton Carr. The girls' team will be led by seniors Julie Fobes, Lizzie Frazier and Amelia Cain.
As for the remainder of the season, Leeper made his goals clear.
"I want to see continued improvements," he said. "I want to see the kids invest in themselves and their training. I'm really looking for packs. By sectionals and districts, I want to see pack runners. That's my goal for this year, win, lose, or draw."