Archbold cross country will look to make some noise this season as both their boys and girls teams return multiple letter winners from a year ago when each team advanced to the Tiffin Regional.
The Blue Streak boys won the Northwest Ohio Athletic League in 2021. They also were district runners-up and placed 11th as a team at the regional in Division III.
Back for the Blue Streaks are seniors Aden McCarty, Ethan Stuckey, Corbin Stamm, Landon Stamm, Jackson Beck and Ben Dowdy; juniors Brad Voll, Gavin Walker, Asa Hudson and Brennan Garrow; and sophomores Oliver Seibert, Caleb Harrow, and Mason Bickel.
Newcomers added are Jace Beck, Sam Bentz, Nicholas Fry, Kaden Kruse, Jaden Osterland, Avery Roth, Joel Ward, Jesse Nofziger and Preston Nofziger.
“We have a strong group of returning athletes who are ready to be leaders and finished the season very strong last year,” said veteran head coach Rachel Kinsman. “We add in a talented group of freshmen and some newcomers that will add some depth to our team.”
However, the boys have to replace more letter winners than the girls, losing five compared to just one for the girls. The most glaring loss is Brady Johns who finished 30th at the regional.
Also gone for the boys are Rhett Hudson, Kaden Rufenacht, Elijah Schumacher and Kenny Walker.
“We lost a few key scorers from last season with our seniors. So we will focus on filling some gaps and running close together. These athletes have the potential to be up there when it counts and make a statement,” explained Kinsman on potential weaknesses this season.
The Streaks will be looking for the program’s first repeat NWOAL title when the league meet rolls around in October.
“The NWOAL will be competitive as always,” noted Kinsman. “Our guys will look to compete for those top team spots at the NWOAL meet. Focusing on running as a group and helping each other throughout practices so we can do the same in races. Closing the gaps!”
The Archbold girls finished fourth in the league and were third at the district last season.
Returning for the Streaks are seniors Alison Roehrig, Annika DeLong, Meg Mellow, Natalie Seibert and Sophie Rupp; juniors Ella Throne, Norah Ruffer, Jenae Kinsman, Rayne Kinsman and Allie Buehrer; and Tessa Nafziger, Trinity Lauber, Elizabeth Francis and Kirsten DeLong.
Newcomers for the girls include juniors Gabby Rodriguez and Emily Wyse, as well as freshmen Eliza Bacik and Kylie Wanemacher.
“Our upperclassmen have great experience at those high level meets and we have great leadership. We have added some great freshmen that will make an immediate impact. Our new juniors will help us as well,” said Coach Kinsman on the strengths for the girls in 2022.
But the Streaks do lose Karley Ramirez, an eighth place finisher at the Division III district.
“A weakness that will play a part this year is losing a key scorer. We will work strengthening our top 7 throughout the season and we have girls that are able to fill in and score really well for us,” explained Coach Kinsman.
In the NWOAL race, Archbold will aim to unseat three-time defending champion Liberty Center. They have the right athletes to do it with so many key pieces returning to the lineup.
“The girls will be ready to compete for those top 3 places in our very competitive NWOAL meet in October. Throughout the season we will work on finishing strong and closing gaps,” said Coach Kinsman.
Archbold kicks off its season at the Defiance Early Bird Open this Saturday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.