This season they've got higher goals, returning three all-conference runners from their runner-up Western Indiana Conference team last year. New coach Chad Smith believes that the Knights are prepared to make a run deeper into the postseason as experience gathered in 2006 can be put to use.
Smith has first hand experience what it takes to make the leap to the next level after accomplishing All-State cross country honors as a Sullivan prep in 2004. He also ran in five NCAA national championships between cross country and track while running at the University of Southern Indiana for four years.
"My experience in going to that next level came as an individual but I hope to use some of that knowledge and bring it to the team," said Smith before practice Monday evening.
The Knights have been working all summer towards their goals this fall according to Smith, who will also take the girls basketball reigns for the Knights.
"We've been running religiously three days a week all summer. I'm excited about the opportunity. We've got three all-conference runners back and hopefully we'll add a fourth this year."
Accomplishing that goal could be just the step the Knights need to make the jump to the next level in the postseason.
Returning all-conference performers includes senior Landry Moore, who placed fourth in the WIC meet, but missed the sectional due to illness. He is joined by junior Ryan Lutes who finished fifth in the conference and 11th in the sectional. Classmate Chris Smith is also back after taking sixth in the WIC and 13th in the sectional. E.C. Moody was 38th in the Brown County regional and returns for his junior year as well as Eli Kirby and Jordan Maurer. Sophomore Conor Strain is also back and hopes to add depth to the Northview scoring efforts. Kolby Henke is the team's third senior along with Maurer and Moore.
New to the team this year is freshman Tanner Brown who was seventh in the junior high conference meet last year.
"(Previous coach) Jeff Gambill did a terrific job with this team and built a strong program here," said Smith.
With plenty of work going in over the summer and with the athletes putting in some mileage in the current oppressive heat, Smith is right there with his team running alongside them. He feels that by working out with his team, the group is building even stronger chemistry.
"I think it makes a difference to them that I'm doing everything that I'm telling them to do. I've been running with the team since May and I think the kids strive to beat me during practice," said Smith with a smile. "I think it motivates the kids and helps build chemistry that I'm not going to tell them to do anything that I won't do myself."
Northview's program has also beefed up its schedule and has added a trip to the Rushville Invitational which features some of the state's best teams. They will also compete in a meet at Culver Academy which also brings many ranked teams to run versus each other.
"We've got a tough schedule and we're looking forward to it," noted Smith. "I'd like to see our kids running for their PR's (personal records) at the regional in order to qualify for semi-state and the state meet."
The Knights will also get very familiar with the postseason courses since the sectional and state finals will be held at the LaVern Gibson Complex in Terre Haute and Northview will run there several times during the season, including August 18 in the Early Bird Invite. The regional will be held at Brown County and the Knights are slated to compete there in the coming month as well.
"I think (running on those courses) will be beneficial to us so we know strategies for each of these courses down the road," said Smith.