By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
Clay City's boys' cross country team isn't sneaking up on anyone anymore.
Last year's youthful squad just squeezed into the regional with a fifth-place sectional place and the team is still pretty young, but a year more experienced.
The Eels lost two seniors from the 2007 team, but return the remainder of the team as well as adding a couple of freshmen to the mix. While replacing Kevin Cook and Ben Dickey is a tall order, returning five of your seven sectional competitors should bring a smile to coach Keith Jones.
"We keep looking year-to-year to maintain success," said Jones. "We return four of our top-five so I'm anxious to find out."
Braxton Griffith is the lone senior on this team and leads a group that contains five juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen.
According to Jones, the biggest positive might be the team's overall health.
"Probably outside of Conner Modesitt, everyone's healthy and that's a plus," said Jones. "We're trying to get the girls' numbers up."
Currently there are four, and possibly five girls that are going to run for the Eels, which doesn't give the team squad much depth, but they could field a team score.
Currently, the team is returning Brittany Richard and Sam Stoops, who are each juniors. Carmela Roeschlein and Danielle Gossage are incoming freshmen that immediately factor into the scoring.
Plenty of eyes will be on Roeschlein after a strong junior high career and Jones feels that she will have a great effect on the team.
"Carmela is really going to help us," commented Jones. "She'll be right there at the front."
The boys' team is boosted by the experience of juniors Conner and Parker Modesitt along with the return of a healthy Hared Tiefel. Landry Moss and baseball player DJ Newton complement the group too. Sophomores Ethan Shaw and Jesse Vansickle will be integral to the team's success as well.
Braxton, Parker and Jesse Vansickle will probably be our top-three, but Conner and Jared Tiefel missed the second half of the year last season," said Jones of his team's added depth.
"Austin Sinders is in better shape and I expect the freshman to step right in and contribute," mentioned Jones.
Wayne Tharp and Ben Denker are the two frosh, who have junior high experience, which should ease the learning curve a bit.
While several regulars were missing the opening days of practice due to some late vacations, the Eels have plenty of practice time due to one of the later starting schedules. Clay City's first actual meet isn't until Aug. 30 when they travel to the Riverton Parke Invitational.
2008 Clay City cross country schedule
|Sat. Aug. 30||at R.Parke Invite||9 a.m.|
|Tue. Sept. 2||at Edgewood Invite||4:30 p.m.|
|Sat. Sept. 6||at T.H. North Invite||9 a.m.|
|Tue. Sept. 9||vs. N.Central/Sullivan||4:30 p.m.|
|Thur. Sept. 11||Clay City Invite||5 p.m.|
|Sat. Sept. 20||at South Knox Invite||10 a.m.|
|Tue. Sept. 23||at W.Vigo/Northview||5 p.m.|
|Sat. Sept. 27||at Shakamak Invite||10 a.m.|
|Tue. Sept. 30||at TRC (Shakamak)||5 p.m.|
|Thur. Oct. 2||vs. T.H. North||5 p.m.|
|Mon. Oct. 6||at SWIAC (Freshmen)||4:30 p.m.|
|Thur. Oct. 9||at SWIAC||4:30 p.m.|
|Tue. Oct. 14||at Sectional (THN)||5 p.m.|