Wauseon cross country poised for successful season

The Wauseon cross country team has a lot to feel good about heading into the upcoming season.

Their boys team returns five letter winners, including state qualifer Kyle Vernot. Also back are Michael Cheezan, Nolan Flint, Ryan Scherer and Josh Lowry.

“We have a nice core group of runners returning,” said head coach Joe Allen. “Kyle Vernot was a state qualifier and league champion. So we look for him to have a very successful senior year. The rest of the group did a great job in summer training. I am very excited about the number of young men we have on the team. Plus bringing in four freshmen hopefully means the program will continue to be successful.”

The weaknesses for the Indians lie in having to replace four runners from last year that qualified for the regional meet as a team. Those departed letter winners were Aaron Beck, Christian Suarez, Seth Hutchison and Cole Walbolt.

“They will be difficult to replace,” noted Allen. “We lost three to graduation, and one we lost as he moved to another district. We need to continue to work to close the gap between our top three runners and our four and five runners. If we can do that we will be very successful.”

They are also adding newcomers Braden Vernot, Maddux Chamberlin, Layton Willson and Hunter Knapp.

For the most part, coach Allen expects his boys to have a good season.

“Overall, the team will be very successful – especially if we can develop our 4 and 5 runner,” he said. “The team is young, so we will take some bumps as we learn the sport.”

He feels they have a chance at winning a Northwest Ohio Athletic League title.

“I would say that Liberty Center is the favorite as they return a large group from last years’ team,” said Allen. “Archbold and Bryan will also be strong. We hope that we can also factor into the meet. Overall, it should be a great race to watch.”

The girls team only loses one letter winner from 2016. Gone for the Indians is Rachel Lowry.

“If we can stay healthy this year and develop our young runners, as a team we will have success,” said Allen of the girls.

Returning for the Indians are Hannah Richer, Ashtyn Falor, Megan Carroll and Brooke Schuette.

“We return four letter winners from last year’s team,” said Allen. “They have a better understanding of what it takes to be a successful team in cross country.”

Newcomers for the girls team are Josten Brown, MacKenzie Menningen, Josie Callan, Chaney Sigg and Natasha Miller.

With still being a fairly young team, the Indians still need more time to see who fits into certain roles.

“We have to develop a runner to be a front runner in some races this year,” said the Wauseon coach. “Hannah Richer looks to fill that role. We also need to work to develop our freshmen who have very little cross country experience.”

It will likely be tough for Wauseon to win a league title in girls cross country.

“I would say that Liberty Center and Archbold are the favorite,” said Allen. “Archbold has some very great runners who are going to be freshmen and you add that to the talent they had last year. They will be very difficult to beat. Liberty Center has won three out of the last four league titles. It is tough to beat their tradition.”

Wauseon begins the season with a meet at Columbian High School in Tiffin Saturday, Sept. 9.

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Wauseon’s Kyle Vernot runs at the 2016 NWOAL Cross Country Championships. He returns for the Indians after making it all the way to state a year ago.
https://www.fcnews.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2017/08/web1_Vernot-finishes-up.jpgWauseon’s Kyle Vernot runs at the 2016 NWOAL Cross Country Championships. He returns for the Indians after making it all the way to state a year ago. File Photo

By Max Householder


Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010