Depth and talent return this season to the Garner-Hayfield-Ventura boys and girls cross country program.
With 15 girls and 21 boys comprising this year’s roster and some key runners returning, the Cardinals are showing a lot of promise.
“Our main strength this season will be our team leadership,” said Coach Jeff Short.
The boys team placed fifth at the State Meet in 2016. From that squad, Reece Smith, who placed second, Ray Cataldo, who placed 33rd and Nathan Larson, who placed 96th, will return to lead the team. Also returning will be letterwinners Andy Schreur, Nathan Larson, Tyler Obermann, Lucas Rayhons, Luke Brown, Dalton Hawe and Dalton Kelly.
Coach Short said he is also looking for newcomers Blake Lynch, Zach Suby, Kris Hamitt and Jake Hejlik to be contributors.
The girls return eight letterwinners: Hannah Whelan, Rachel Sokol, Sadie Oulman, Nicole Upmeyer, Emma Whelan, Taylor Boggs, Jillian Heitland and Mara Anderson. Newcomers Alison Johnson, Abby Christians and Lorna Whelan are also expected to contribute this season.
Short said he is expecting his team and Eagle Grove to be leaders in the Top of Iowa conference this season. On the girls side, he is looking for Osage and Newman to be strong contenders.