FORT WAYNE – Youth was a big factor for the 2013 season, with those runners now blending ability with experience for this year.
A lot of freshmen and sophomores made names for themselves and return to try take it a step further.
Here is a look at some of those talented runners, along with some teams and storylines that could make noise in 2014.
Bailey Beery, Bellmont: The junior was 16th last year at the state meet.
Lindsey Marriott, Leo: The sophomore finished in 23rd at state.
Madison Fruchey, Carroll: The junior was 36th at the state meet a year ago.
Maddie Distelrath, Homestead: The sophomore finished eighth at the semistate and 58th at the state meet.
Hannah Aschliman, Norwell: The senior was 19th at the semistate.
Carroll: The Chargers were seventh at last year’s state meet and return seniors Stacey Metzger and Megan Doty, Fruchey and sophomores Allison Thomas and Cassie Pontius.
Huntington North: The Vikings are bringing back six of the top seven runners in junior Hannah Stoffel, sophomore Cadee Harmon, junior Marissa Jamison, senior Emily Eherenman, senior Stephanie McElhaney and senior Taryn Doering.
Homestead: The Spartans finished second in the NHC and fourth in the semistate behind junior Grace Walther and sophomores Distelrath, Kelsey Batt and Hannah Johanningsmeier and senior Mary Podlaski.
Warsaw: The Tigers bring back sophomore Allison Miller, junior Hannah Dawson, junior Emma Hayward and junior Claire Kehler.
Bishop Dwenger: The Saints return six of their top seven runners – junior Megan Brelage, sophomore Abby Brelage, senior Erin Kilgane, junior Claire Manning, senior Mary Momper and junior Caroline McMasters.
Double duty: Again, Beery will run cross country and play soccer during the fall season.
Wrong turned right: Marriott would have been the ACAC individual champion, but she took a wrong turn in the meet. She bounced back to win the sectional.
No defense: Garrett is the 2013 ACAC team champion, but won’t be around to defend its title because the Railroaders are now in the NECC.
Stepping up: North Side sophomore Lakeisha Thieme took off over seven minutes from her personal-best (26:44 to 19:54) from her first year and qualified for the semistate.
So long, soccer: Both juniors Brooke Feipel and Ariel Stier gave up soccer this year to run on the New Haven team.