The 2003 cross-country season opens for Northview tonight and with great anticipation for fans of the Knights.
Both squads have high hopes of continuing the school's recent string of success throughout the regular and postseason.
While the boys' team has the unenviable task of replacing the graduated Bryce Smith who advanced to the State Finals with regularity during his career, the cupboard is far from bare.
The Knights return the components of a strong team led by a trio of top runners including Matt Brand who placed ninth in last year's sectional at Terre Haute North. He is joined Jarrod Reece who placed 30th in the sectional, Ryan Thompson (34th) and Cam King (36th). Also returning to the squad is a healthy Justin Scherb who missed the season last year with leg problems. His re-addition should help alleviate the loss of Tim Chastain (19th) and Ed House (26th in the sectional).
"It's hard to tell right now where we're at until we get out and race," said Coach Jeff Gambill. "I've been pleased with the workouts so far. We've got a lot of guys back and we have some first year runners."
One of those competitors will be senior Josh Timm who did well for the Knights on the track in the Spring. Timm competed in the middle distance races for part of the season before stretching out to the mile late in the season. Timm placed 11th in the sectional mile last season.
Freshman Hunter Reberger looks to continue the success he demonstrated at North Clay the past couple of years and the Knights also return T.J. Black, Kyle Colson, Logan Wegner and add first timers Drew White and Las Vegas transfer student Nick Colwell.
While the boys' squad is still awaiting to see how some of the newcomers perform, the girls team is stacked with experience.
The Northview girls placed third as a team in the North sectional last year to advance to regionals. This year they return all but one of their top six finishers from the sectional. Breanna Tanner (28th) was the lone graduate in that top group. Tara Richey and Valerie Leith also graduated, but the Knights have the luxury of bringing back senior Mary Pugh who was second overall at North with her time of 15:33.
Pugh would advance through regionals (5th) to semistate (11th) and finally to the state meet where she finished 74th overall. She will be joined by Shandra Kirby (6th in the sectional), Nikki Royer (9th), Kim Deakins (21st) and Emilee Lutes (34th). Even more promising is the addition of talented junior Emily Pugh who starred in the track postseason with a 4th in the 1,600 sectional race and a 2nd in the 3,200. She advanced to regionals where she was eighth and fifth respectively.
The Knights will also add Jeri Jo Mogan to the squad and Brit Hoffman who is making the transition from sprinter status in track.
All signs point to an exciting season for the Northview teams as the season kicks off with a road meet tonight at Riverton Park beginning at 5 p.m.