By Jacki Wood
The Maryville High School boys and girls cross country teams return intact after having no seniors on last year’s team. And the Spoofhounds will look to use that experience to achieve conference and postseason success.
“We expect to have a similar, and hopefully more successful, season than last in regards to team and individual finishes,” coach Rodney Bade said, who begins his sixth year as head coach. He will once again be assisted by Dan Ferguson.
“Winning the MEC meet is a big goal of ours,” Bade said, and added that districts are the biggest goal of the year. “On the boys side, we missed qualifying for state last season by eight points. The boys are very motivated to be top two this season.”
Bade said he sees having the overall MEC champion and five in the top 10 of the whole race, and at districts, he said they look to have five runners in the top 20. For the girls, the goal is to have five girls earn All-MEC honors, finish in the top three teams at districts and have three individual state qualifiers.
Top returners for the boys include the following: junior Garrett Dumke, who was last year’s MEC champion, All-District and state qualifier; senior Zach Kizer, All-MEC, All-District and state qualifier; senior Chase Sims, All-MEC; sophomore Cale Sterling, All-MEC; sophomore Jag Galapin; and senior Ethan Elston.
“(The senior boys) bring experience, determination and lead by example,” Bade said. “They are motivated to finish their senior season on a high note similar to the success we experienced as a team when they were freshmen – MEC team champions and state qualifiers.”
Top returners for the girls include the following: senior Laura Feuerbacher, All-MEC, All-District and three-time state qualifier; senior Amy Feuerbacher, All-MEC, All-District and state qualifier; senior Piper Zarbano, All-MEC; sophomore Brooklynn Holtman; and senior Madilyn Pritzel. The girls will add freshman Gracen Arnold to the team this year.
“(The senior girls) have run for a combined 11 cross country seasons, so they bring experience and determination to our team,” Bade said. “They, like the boys, are poised to finish their high school running careers with more success as a team than any MHS girls cross country team has ever had before.”
To meet their goals, Bade said the Spoofhounds will need to improve in a few areas.
“Our consistency and discipline in training,” he said. “Always finishing runs, doing our core/strength/mobility exercises, stretching – basically doing everything we can to be better runners during and outside of practice.”
Bade is looking forward to several new meets on this year’s schedule – the Ray Pec Invitation, Southern Stampede, St. Pius Invitation and the LeBlond Invitational.
“These will be fun because they are new to our schedule,” he said. “We don’t quite know what to expect and will have really good competition.”
The Spoofhounds kick off their season with a home meet on Tuesday, September 3 at Donaldson Westside Park.