BY DAN WINDHOLZ
Although the men’s and women’s cross country teams usually participate in the Great Lakes regionals competition, they were switched to the Big Lakes region where most of their competition had taken place. As the season comes to an end, Coach Dan Kuebler looks upon the season with good feelings, seeing the talented runners he is coaching, and can hardly wait to work with the dedication he sees in both teams.
Placing second and third respectively at their conference meet, the women’s and men’s cross country teams find themselves able to put their seven best runners in the regionals in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The women’s team was composed of Colene Smith, Allison Huelseman, Molly Chambers, Kate Porter, Kristen Mack, Claire Bach, and Leah Kaisler.
Kuebler commented that he was proud of their improvement since they began the season, but especially at regionals.
“There were lots of improvements in time from the conference run,” he said.
Chambers, named by Kuebler as the leader of the girls’ group, was the key player in regionals, making a time of 24:55 a 6k race. Kuebler noted not only her time but also her dedication to the race.
“About a half mile into the race, (Chambers) lost a shoe,” Kuebler said, “but she ran the remaining two and a half miles without it.”
Chambers’ dedication is furthered by the fact that she will be graduated at the end of the semester and leaves her legacy for another girl to step up and fulfill it. Kuebler believes that girl is Allison Huelseman.
“(Huelseman) has really stepped up this season,” Kuebler said, “I’m really looking forward to seeing her succeed.”
The women’s team placed 35th out of 54 teams at regionals.
On the men’s side, the top seven runners were Patrick Flanagan, David Byers, John Redmond, Michael McLaughlin, Joseph Schlueter, Jack Nash, and Emmett Delaney. Although the men’s team did not do as well as the women’s team, coming in at 39th out of fifty-four teams, Kuebler was impressed with all the guys’ times, especially at the conference meet.
Kuebler named Patrick Flanagan as an outstanding member, with his 5 mile run time of 27:45. He will take over the position of leader Joseph Schleuter, who has had his last season.
“Flanagan has had a lot of good runs, especially at the conference runs” Kuebler said, “and he’s going to do really well next year.”
Although the season has ended without a qualifying member for nationals, Kuebler feels good about the season.
“It’s been a good season,” Kuebler said. “We lost two nationally-qualifying runners and four other runners last year, but it’s been a learning process for everyone, and I’m looking forward to next year to work with the experience both teams have gained over the season.”