A large freshman class will fill out the Phoenix cross country team this year.
Head coach David Hathaway expects to have at least 15 runners compete this fall: “We’re even hoping to put together a full girls team,” he said.
Oberlin has not had a girls cross country team since the early 1990s.
Hathaway plans to partner with athletic director Ty Stillman to get more students out for the team and find numbers for a girls roster.
He said runners are looking really strong this season.
“We have four strong returning varsity seniors,” Hathaway said, naming David Castle, Noah Frantz, David Carter, and Simon Perales. “They were all constantly under 20 (minutes) and by end of the year three were under 19 (minutes).”
The Phoenix also have Jeremy Burnside returning.
He made huge progress last season from the first meet to the Patriot Athletic Conference meet by getting his time under 19 minutes.
Hathaway has big expectations for freshman Nick Vayda, who had a strong season last year as an eighth-grader.
Senior Jillian Doane will be the girls’ main leader this season both on and off the courses.
Hathaway believes the team will have a slow start but a strong overall season.
The Phoenix will host a home meet at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 1 at New Russia Township, but the team’s first meet will be at 3 p.m. Aug. 24 at Keystone.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.