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GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY 2016 PREVIEW…Coach Wilkinson’s Perspective

Looking Back at 2015

In league meets TK placed first twice, and second once. When running invitationals, the team placed anywhere from 1st to 3rd in smaller meets, and 10th in the very competitive Portage Invitational. As far as wins and losses, the team’s most notable accomplishments were winning the conference, earning second at regionals, and finishing in a respectable 14th place at the state meet.

Top Athletes Returning

We have a strong returning group, including seven seniors, which contains part of last year’s final top 7, Rachael Gorton and Kiley Hilton, who both competed in the state meet with the team last fall. There is also a solid contingent of five returning juniors, including Lauren Lutz and Alli Matison who also were in the top 7, and competed in the team state finals. Additionally, we have four returning sophomores, which has one of last year’s top seven, Sarah Possett who has state meet experience from last year.  

Key Additions

I am very excited about the key additions to our team this year. We gained some outstanding athletes from other sports who are giving cross country a try, and there is a lot of high end potential here. We have added one senior, seven juniors, two sophomores, and eleven freshmen, all of which are only beginning to realize what they capable of doing. I think there is going to be shake-up with the returning team, and frequent changes in position on team throughout the year.

Team Strengths

With the numbers we have we also have talent, so depth will be one of our strengths. Another is how the girls respect and care for each other. They are also a harding working group of girls.

Team Weaknesses

The team has a weakness, if you want to call it that, for chocolate milk, but I can’t fault them for that.  

Overall Outlook

The girls have high expectations for themselves. Like every other team in our very competitive conference (The OK Gold was redistributed this fall) we want to be champions. Of course simply wanting it, isn’t going to get it done, and we realize this. We would also like to qualify for the state meet again, and see what we can do on that stage.  

Regarding Teams in Our League

We are not taking any team in our conference lightly. We don’t fear anyone, but we respect everyone.

Opening Meet and Important Meets

Our first meet will be at the Kenowa Hills Invitational on August 29th, and every conference jamboree will be a big meet for us if we want to be competitive, and as I mentioned, our other big goals are to do well enough in regionals to advance to the state finals. So, those will be big for us as well.  

Additional Information

One obvious, but important note is that legendary Coach Tammy Benjamin (affectionately known as Coach B) has stepped aside, so now I am at the helm. Fortunately Coach B has made herself available when I have questions about how some things have been done, and she is still a very prominent figure in our community. Additionally, she is always willing to lend a hand when she can, because that’s the kind of person she is. Furthermore, Coach Reynolds (the boys cross country coach at TK) has been a solid guide for me along this journey of sorting out our responsibilities and gelling our respective programs. On some level I feel like I am “renting” the returners from Coach B, because she has put in all the work with them, but the girls and I are getting to know each other. It’s a transition year for all of us, but this has not deterred our commitment to doing well. Thankfully I have had many of these girls as students, or they are friends of my daughters, so we aren’t going into this completely void of knowing each other.

 

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