Archbold girls cross country welcomes back all of their top runners from a squad that last season took ninth at state in Division III.
“We have all of our top seven that were ninth in the state meet last year back. We have great experience at those high level meets and we have depth. We have added some great freshmen and a strong junior that will help us tremendously,” said veteran coach Rachel Kinsman.
They will be led by senior Kylie Sauder, who was second at the Northwest Ohio Athletic League meet last year and placed 12th in the state in Division III.
Also returning for the Blue Streaks are Sophie Rupp, who was first team All-NWOAL a season ago; Karley and Brittney Ramirez, both honorable mention all-league; Alison Roehrig; Annika DeLong; Meg Mellow; Natalie Seibert; Chloe Merillat; Camryn Hudson; Delaney Garrow; Montana Stamm; and Regan Ramirez.
Newcomers will be Kalyn Baker, Allie Buehrer and Elizabeth Theobald. The Streaks will have to replace Shylo Richardson.
“A weakness that will play a part this year is there may be a bigger gap between a few of the runners, but that is something we will work on throughout the season,” said Kinsman.
Archbold will be looking to duplicate last season’s success — both in the NWOAL and beyond.
“The girls will be gunning for a NWOAL title this year but our league is always competitive so we will have to be ready,” explained Kinsman. “Once we get to district our goal will be to be in those top teams to move on each week and return to the state meet again this year.”
Although not as much star power returns on the boys side for the Streaks, look for them to be much improved.
“We have a strong group of returning athletes who are ready to be leaders. We add in a large and talented group of freshmen and some newcomers that will add some depth to our team,” said Kinsman on strengths of the boys team.
The most notable returnee for the Blue Streak boys is senior Weston Ruffer, an honorable mention all-league performer in 2019.
They also get back Aden McCarty, Ethan Stuckey, Corbin Stamm, Dane Riley, Jackson Beck, Landon Stamm, Ben Dowdy, Elijah Schumacher, Rhett Hudson, Brady Johns, Kenny Walker, Daniel Oyer, Andrew Francis and Miles Rupp.
Their newcomers are Mason Conway, Austin Roth, Kaden Rufenacht, Karson Rufenacht, Brennan Garrow, Asa Hudson, Jackson Keiser, Aaron Miller, Lance Ramirez, Gavin Walker and Brad Voll.
However, the Streaks suffer a slight blow with the loss of Devin Witte who was second team all-league a year ago. Also departed are Ivan Cobb, Adam Walker, Noah Cheney and Edward Rash.
“Not having a dominant front runner will be a weakness that we will work on. These athletes have the potential to be up there when it counts and make a statement,” Kinsman explained.
The Archbold boys finished fourth at the league meet last season. They feel they can improve that standing in 2020.
“The NWOAL will be competitive as always. Our guys will look to break into that top three finish as a team in the league this season; focusing on running as a group and helping each other throughout practices so we can do the same in races,” said Kinsman.
Archbold begins the season at the Defiance Early Bird Open this Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.