Defending league champion Sarah Schwan leads the list of returnees for the 2018 Evergreen cross country teams. Schwan also finished 24th in the state last year as a junior.
The Vikings’ No. 2 runner from last year also returns. Sophomore Kennedy Keller was honorable mention all-league in 2017.
However, new faces will have to fill the void left by the loss of the next four runners on the girls team. Gone are Grace Bryson, Trinity Welch, Katie Fritsch, and Ashley Garlick.
Newcomers include freshmen Kayla Glecker, Emma Majewski, Jocelyn Schuster, Jolie Huffman, Annie Crisp and Izzy Barkhimer; sophomore Breanna Huffman; junior Kamryn Ruetz; and senior Hannah Klebold. The freshman heavy list leaves Evergreen with several young runners on the roster.
As a team, the Vikings were sixth at the league meet last year. The goal for this year is to place in the top three.
Strengths for this season include continued growth of the program and strong leadership in athletes, according to coach Andrea Hesson.
“Our girls team is looking to repeat to the regional meet and place in the top half,” Hesson said.
The boys team remains mostly intact from 2017 with the exception of Nick Hassen. The Vikings are hoping for a top four finish after placing eighth at the league meet a season ago.
Junior Alex Majewski returns after finishing 33rd in the league race. Fellow junior Augie Tipping was 35th.
Other returnees are junior Chandler Ruetz, senior Kevin Crisp, senior Thomas Pollard, and sophomore Evan Pennington.
That returning experience will be the strength for the Evergreen boys squad.
Anderson Tipping is a promising newcomer for the Vikings.
Evergreen is at the Columbus Grove Invite on Saturday.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010