Warren cross country teams talented

VINCENT – Warren cross country appears to have good numbers, a wealth of experience, and plenty of talent to have a good run on the 5K race course this upcoming season.

On Monday at the high school campus in Vincent, the royal blue and white harriers had its first official practice of the campaign.

“I’m so excited,” said second-year Warriors head cross country coach Debbie Proctor, who will also be in her first year as the Warren athletic director. “We have 22 boys out for the team, including eight ninth-graders. “And, on the girls team, we have no seniors and a good top seven back.”

Of Warren’s top 7 boys runners last season, six will be returning.

Last year at Logan, the Warren boys claimed the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League (SEOAL) championship, while the Lady Warriors were runners-up. Later at district, the royal blue and white girls finished fourth, and the boys were 11th.

In the regional, the Warren girls placed 16th.

Pacing the boys this fall will be senior Parker Blain, also the Division I Southeast Ohio Boys Runner of the Year. Last year, he was the first male to cross the SEOAL finish line in 17 minutes, 06.74 minutes.

At the district meet, Blain covered the 5K distance in a clocking of 17:51.42.

Warren’s No. 2 boys runner is expected to be junior Sam Goodman, who also played soccer last fall. This season, he will be devoting his time and effort to just cross country, Proctor said.

“Sam’s been running really well, and he’s right there with Parker,” the Warren coach continued.

Goodman placed fifth at the 2012 SEOAL meet in a time of 17:45.31.

The No. 3 runner could be sophomore Brent Ash, who was 10th at the league meet in 17:56.47 9.

Some of the other returnees will be sophomores’ Matt Neehouse, Nick Starner, Cole Welch, Zach Barnes, Colton Cantley, and Mason Pilkey, junior Joel Estes, and senior Andrew Gaughan.

“We have strength in numbers, and in pack running,” Proctor said. “The boys are more focused on the team than the individual.”

The Warren girls are expected to be led by junior Hannah Dugan, who was first at the 2012 league meet in a clocking of 20:51.19. At district, she was 13th overall in 21:09.39.

Dugan ran the regional meet in 21:14.10.

“Hannah’s gotten a lot stronger,” Proctor said.

Junior Sydney Brague will probably be the No. 2 Warren girls runner. At last season’s league meet, she ran 23:56.45 to place in the top 20. Following that race at district, she covered the distance in 22:49.39.

Sophomore Maggie McCutcheon and freshman Kaylee Pate are a couple harriers who could bear some watching on the race course.

“Maggie has a lot of potential, and Kaylee’s right there with her,” Proctor said. “Both are very focused and hard workers.”

Warren has couple of other good lady harriers in Christin Howell and Alyssa Kern, who are currently nursing ailments. If they can get cross country healthy, look out.

“Right now, with the injuries, it’s been more of a challenge with the girls team,” Proctor said.

Warren is scheduled to open up its season at the OHSAA Early Season Invitational at National Trail Raceway at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 17 in Hebron, also the site of the state meet in November.

The following Saturday (Aug. 24), the Warriors will run at the Elizabeth S. Broughton Memorial Invitational at the Broughton Nature & Wildlife Area in Marietta.

At 10 a.m. on Aug. 31, the Warrior harrers are slated to host their annual Scenic Hills Lions Club Invitational.