Clear Lake cross country teams are ready to make some serious noise this fall.
The Lions have been steadily building their program, with three runners earning All-North Central Conference honors last season, three were All-District, and the CLHS boys qualified as a team for State competition and placed eighth.
“Both the boys and the girls teams have the depth and the talent needed to challenge for the conference championship,” said Coach Nick DiMarco. “This summer I had the most runners of my coaching career put in the mileage and attend summer camps. This squad is serious about their sport and this dedication is admirable.”
Eric Faught was the top Lion place winner on the 2016 State team. The junior finished 14th in the Class 2A field. He is joined by five returning letter winners. Seniors Sam Pedelty, Ike Branstad and Dylan Schuchard, along with junior Noan Colby and sophomore Jacob Petersen.
Coach DiMarco also says others are vying for varsity spots. Keep your eyes on Lewis Callaway, Jacob Pedelty, Carter Olk and Karter Anderson, he says.
The Pedelty brothers, as well as Faught and Schuchard all participated in off-season cross country camps to give themselves a strong start to the season.
The girls team is paced by two-time State qualifier and all-conference performer Gretchen Jones. Jones, a senior, is one of six returning letter winners on the Lions team. Senior Tali Tesar, juniors Bailey Larsen, Alena Gabrielson and Mallory Leisure, as well as sophomore Riley Cooney, give the Lions a veteran lineup.
“I believe we have the athletes to compete for the conference title,” said DiMarco, who is assisted by Steven Story. “Our hope, as always, is to do well at the District meet and to qualify for State.”
The coach expects the Lions to be challenged by Humboldt and Algona for the NCC crowns.