The Clintonville Trucker varsity boys and girls cross country (XC) teams are making a push for a strong showing in the Eastern Valley Conference (EVC) this year, after the boys finished fourth last year and the girls took second.
Despite losing state qualifiers April Hanson and Jason Wilson to graduation, the team returns All-Conference runner Tyler Sawall, who finished third at sectionals last year and qualified for state. Joining junior Sawall are junior Xavier Fletcher, senior Kyle Wied, senior Gage Calkins, junior Garrett Cunningham, and sophomore Kaleb Krueger.
For the girls, sophomore Samantha Hohn and junior Kathryn Henschel will lead the way, with junior Holly Mayek and freshmen Sara Messner, Anna Huber and Katie Collier joining in.
“Our girls team is young but talented,” said Head Coach Jeff Crumbaugh, who is in his seventh year coaching. “We have three freshman who are really fit and will contribute significantly to our success. Samantha Hohn set the school record in the 3200 meter run last Spring as a Freshman and is strong than she has ever been. Kathryn Henschel improved dramatically last cross country season but was injured during track. She is now healthy and will make a difference for us this season. Holly Mayek is a Junior and a 400 meter runner in track. She has speed, but will be working on her endurance this season.
“Our boys team is led by Tyler Sawall who qualified for state last year as a Sophomore and set a school record in the 3200 meter run last track season (9:58),” Crumbaugh stated. “He is still young and his fitness is improving. His training partner, Xavier Fletcher came into this season in the best shape of his life and will be a strong runner for us this year. Jacob DeCleene, a sophomore put in significant mileage this summer and is really fit. He needs more racing experience but once he has that he will be strong contributor to the team. Senior Kyle Wied has been a consistent runner for us for three years and I expect him to reach the next level this year. Garrett Cunningham is our fifth runner and will be the key to our success as a team. He is a gutsy runner and will help us as his endurance base is established.
“Our girls will have a challenge in improving their second place finish behind Freedom,” Crumbaugh continued. “It all depends on how strong Xavier and Little Chute are. Freedom returns some gifted runners and they are well coached. If we stay healthy we will be in the top three.
“Our boys will improve our fourth place finish,” commented Crumbaugh. “Little Chute is perennially strong and they know how to peak for key meets, so it will be a challenge for all teams to beat them. Sawall should be one of the top three runners in the conference. We hope Fletcher will sneak into the top ten.
“Sawall (boys) and Hohn (girls) are our top runners and are developing a big endurance base now,” concluded Crumbaugh. “Both athletes respond well to some of our key training elements, especially long intervals and tempo runs. They are exciting runners to watch, too.”