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Area Girls Cross Country Preview

During Pat Wagner’s 30 years as Liberty-Benton’s head girls cross country coach, the Eagles have been to the state meet 27 times.
Few schools in Ohio have a cross country tradition to match the girls Liberty-Benton girls.
The Eagles lost five runners from last year’s squad, including state meet participants Audra Schroeder and Jessica Muhlenkamp.
Wagner, though, has five runners with state meet experience returning.
Sophomore MacKenzie Briggs was 46th at state at National Trail Raceway in Hebron to lead the Eagles to 11th place finish for the second straight year.
Senior Megan Saums, junior Kate Baumlein and sophomores Madi Greiner and Devony Miller are back for the Eagles.
Other runners that could find their way into the team’s lineup are junior letterwinner Monica Gupta, Jaclynn Hohman and Tamora Kern and freshmen Taylor Thomas, Andi Garver and Mikaela Butler.
Just one other area girl is a returning state qualifier. Fostoria St. Wendelin sophomore Jocelyn Reinhart is back after placing 79th at state.
No information was submitted on Patrick Henry.

Bluffton
HEAD COACH: Ashley Blair (3rd year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: 3rd Northwest Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS:. Julie Althaus, sr.; Delaney Reineke, sr.; Audrey Marshall, jr.; Morgan Humphreys, jr.; Courtney Barnett, jr.; Noelle Heinz, jr.; Adel Sommers, soph.; Haley Keller, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Sophie Marcum, jr.; Erica Sheehan, soph.; Elizabeth Nisly, fr.; Ashley Schwerer, fr.; Amelia Heslep, fr.
NOTABLE: The Pirates are seeking a return trip to the regional with six of its top seven runners back. Misssing, though, all-Ohioan Hannah Chappell-Dick, who graduated last spring.

Carey
HEAD COACH: Dean Kessler (13th year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: 2nd Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS:Ellen McDougle, sr.; Alivia Stephan, sr.; Sarah Walter, sr.; Kayla Keller, sr.; Jaclyn Troiano, jr..
TOP PROSPECTS: Kate Yeater, sr.; Amber Spurlock, soph.; Taylor Cunningham, fr.; Jackie Fletcher, fr.; Kristina Nusbaum, fr.; Savanna Day, fr.; Allison Keller, fr,.; Alissa Gibson, fr.
NOTABLE: The Blue Devils return five runners from last year’s league runner-up team. Kessler’s crew will be top and bottom heavy with five seniors and six freshmen.

Columbus Grove
HEAD COACH: Jason Jay (6th year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: 6th Northwest Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS:Alexis Ricker, soph.; Megan Langhals, soph.; Kayla Parlette, jr.; Brooke Schnipke, jr.; Lindsey Langhals, jr.; Micah Stechschulte, jr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Cassie Stechschulte, sr.; Alexa Halker, sr.; Quincy Miller, sr.; Kelsey Warneke, sr.; Sienna Gerdeman, sr.; Melissa Amstutz, sr.; Stacy Hovest, jr.; Charlotte Hardner, soph.; Morgan Messer, fr.; Linnea Stephens, fr.; Lindsey Malsam, fr.; Mackenzie Wurth, fr.
NOTABLE: With a girls roster 18 strong, the Bulldogs hope to be more competitive. But Jay is looking for someone to replace first-team all-NWC runner Amber Herron who graduated last spring.

Elmwood
HEAD COACH: Chris Hailey (18th year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: 2nd Northern Buckeye Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Miranda Wagner, sr.; Jessica Murlin, sr.; Hayley Rinearson, sr.; Whitney Gross, sr.; Madison Reinhard, sr.; Emily Wilhelm, sr.; Kyra Bloom, jr.; Megan Hathaway, soph.; Emma Krassow, soph.; Emily Tracy, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Kelli Bradford, soph.; Paige Fisk, jr.; Samantha Kreais, sr.
NOTABLE: The Royals probably won’t have that No. 1 runner who will place in the top five in every race, so they’ll need a tight pack led by their returning senior veterans.

Fostoria
HEAD COACH: Kim Fant-Cousin (9th year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: Didn’t field a complete team.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS:Ashlyn Roberts, sr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Julie Krupp, jr.; Keeley May, fr.; Adrianna Eufracio, fr.; Taylor Keeley, fr.; Raven Rodgers, fr.
NOTABLE: With six runners, the Redmen should be able to field a full team. Roberts returns as a talented athlete and a state swimming qualifier.

Hopewell-Loudon
HEAD COACH: Paul Jones (17th year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: Midland Athletic League champs.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS:Kailey Coleman, sr.; Erin Reinhart-Anez, sr.; Shelby Raudebaugh, sr.; Haley Schreiner, sr.; Morgan Brant, jr.; Allison Arnold, jr.; Audrey Ranker, jr.; Leah Reinhart, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Kiley Siegel, soph.; Katie Brickner, sr.; Samantha Taylor, sr.; Megan Vaughn, sr.; Ashley Rhodes, jr.; Alberte Kaeseler Akselsen, jr.; Tayler Kline, soph.; Caitlin Somers, fr.; Kensy Siegel, fr.
NOTABLE: The Chieftains have four runners who  helped Hopewell-Loudon win a league title and place eighth at the Division III regional.

Kalida
HEAD COACH: Rob Schnippel (6th year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: No conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS:Jessica Doepker, sr., (school record holder); Katie Schmitz, sr.; Katelyn Kortokrax, jr.; Paige Wurth, jr.; Becca Brinkman, so.; Jackie Gardner, so.
TOP PROSPECTS: Katelyn Siebeneck, fr.; Erica Honigfort, fr.
NOTABLE: Watch for Doepker to make a run at the state championship after she finished eighth  last fall. Kalida will also be looking at Gardner to improve.

Liberty-Benton
HEAD COACH: Pat Wagner (30th year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: No conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Megan Saums, sr.; Kate Baumlein, jr.; McKenzie Briggs, jr.; Madi Greiner, soph.; Devony Miller, soph.; Monica Gupta, jr.; Jaclynn Hohman, jr.; Tamora Kern, jr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Taylor Thomas, fr.; Andi Garver; Michaela Butler, fr.
NOTABLE: Liberty-benton has made 27 trip to the OHSAA state meet during Wagner’s tenure as head coach.

McComb
HEAD COACH: None.
CONFERENCE FINISH: No conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: None.
TOP PROSPECTS: Kendall Newcomer, soph.
NOTABLE: The school didn’t field any girls last year and after a full seven-man boys team a year ago, no McComb boys chose to participate.

New Riegel
HEAD COACH: Dan Beisner (12th year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: 8th Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Ashley Mathias, sr.; Abby Cassidy, sr.; Lauren Zoeller, jr.; Morgan Nye, jr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Olivia Borer, jr.
NOTABLE: Mathias, who also played volleyball  last year, is now concentrating on running after earning a spot on the all-MAL second team. Borer, a solid track athlete, should also help the squad.

North Baltimore
HEAD COACH: Brad Rowlinson.
CONFERENCE FINISH: 9th Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jeanella Brown, jr.; Mariah Leonard, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Brittany Daughenbaugh, jr.; Madison Fitzgerald, jr.; Hailey Miller, jr.; Raegan Fleckner, soph.; Megan Ernsberger, fr.
NOTABLE: The Tigers lost their best runner, Amanda Hotaling, to graduation but Rowlinson does have his largest group of girls in recent memory.

Ottawa-Glandorf
HEAD COACH: Brad Leis (33rd year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: 5th Western Buckeye League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Molly Closson, sr.; Kaitlyn Hempfling, sr.; Brittany Nordhaus, sr.; Dana Rosselit, jr.; Jenny Meyer, jr.; Kialee Koch, jr.; Madyson Haselman, soph.; Jill Rosselit, soph.; Kelly Schmitz, soph.; Kindra Thiesen, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Mylee Birkemeier, jr.; Tasha Cass, jr.; Corinne Cramer, sr.; Alex Dean, jr.; Jayme Hahn, jr.; Emily Kaufman, jr.; Hilary Powell, sr.; Amber Schroeder, soph.; Darla Turner, jr.
NOTABLE: Haselman is back after earning second team all-WBL honors as a freshman.

Ottoville
HEAD COACH: Bob Kaple (44th year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: No conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Amy Looser, sr.; Kara Hoersten, sr.; Elizabeth Luersman, soph.
NOTABLE: Looser is a three-year letterwinner and Hoersten has won two letters.

Pandora-Gilboa
HEAD COACH: Steve Amstutz (5th year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: No conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Audrey Sprunger, jr.; Vanessa McCullough, jr.; Breana Hovest, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Jenaleigh Ridge, fr.
NOTABLE: Pandora-Gilboa has just four runners and won’t qualify for team scoring. But the Rockets have three returning regional qualifiers in Sprunger, McCullough and Hovest.

Riverdale
HEAD COACH: Kim Rall (3rd year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: Didn’t field a full team.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Anna Penwell, sr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Sarah Hunter, jr.; Sammi Walter, jr.; Aubreah Manns, fr.; Tiffany Jeffers, fr.
NOTABLE: With just five runners, the Falcons will have to stay injury-free. They feature a solid runner in returning first team all-NCC selection Penwell.

St. Wendelin
HEAD COACH: Cindra Baker (7th year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: 6th in Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS:  Grace Berton, sr.; Jocelyn Reinhart, soph.; Victoria Volpe, soph.; Sara Goddard, soph.; Sammie Digby, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Karin Goddard, fr.; Kyra Weber, soph.
NOTABLE: Reinhart, Volpe and Sara Goddard earned all-conference honors as freshmen. Reinhart was the first St. Wendelin female runner to qualify for state in more than 20 years.

Upper Sandusky
HEAD COACH: Ed Arnold (16th year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: 4th North Central Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Brianna Franklin, sr.; Katlin Rowe, jr; Audrey Thomson, soph .
TOP PROSPECTS: Anna Massara, jr.; Zoe Garber, fr.; Kristen Gardner, fr.; Grace Stober, fr.
NOTABLE: The Rams lost four of their top five runners, including NCC runner-up Halee Stief. Franklin is the lone returning runner who was in the lineup at the end of last season.

Van Buren
HEAD COACH: Adam Schumacher (3rd year).
CONFERENCE FINISH: No conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Michelle Flanagan, jr.; Rachell Resnik, jr.; Kenzi Beall, jr.; Courtney Van Horn, jr.; Alisa Warren, jr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Sarah Greer, sr.; Kaleigh Frampton, sr.; Rebekah Frampton, fr.; Elena Beitzel, fr.
NOTABLE: Warren led the Black Knights in the team’s season-opening meet Tuesday at Upper Sandusky.