By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s cross country coach Dustin Dees is grinning ear to ear. The third-year leader of the tribe boasts the Warriors’ largest squad in more than 15 years with 24 runners in all. And it’s not only the roster size he’s grinning about, as the Warriors welcome back top performers from a year ago on both the boys’ and girls’ squads.
Senior JD Barrett will look to build on a solid junior campaign leading 13 runners on the boys’ side, while sophomore Brynn Tableing is the returning number one leading a pack of 11 girls.
“Our summer workouts were the best they have been since I started here,” Dees said. “We had a great effort and outstanding numbers all summer.”
Barrett put in miles all summer long, and it showed at Tuscola’s Sparks in the Park 5K. The rising star took first overall finishing the course in 16 minutes and 53 seconds, which would be a sub-16-minute three-mile time during the high school season.
“JD has been training extremely hard since track ended,” stated coach Dees. “He is going to be fun to watch this year. The amazing thing to think about is that JD was finishing races as a sophomore during his first year running in 30-minutes. That’s crazy he has nearly cut his time in half over the last two years.”
Seniors Noah Woods and Jordan Middleton will help Barrett lead a competitive group of runners. Woods battled for the number two spot throughout the year last fall and should be rubbing shoulders with the leaders. Middleton has been a top five performer during his career as a Warrior and should help with team scoring.
The junior class will be led by Mason Day. Day recently won the Pace for Petey 5k rounding the course in sub-6-minute miles. He should push to be the number two before the dust settles at the end of the year. Joining him will be classmates Nicolas Woods and Tanner Campbell. Both will vie for the opportunity to run with varsity as will sophomore Jake Dyer, all three had very good seasons a year ago. New comer freshman Logan Wallace has shown promise during the preseason and may push to find away on the varsity team.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Aug. 22 edition of The Tuscola Journal.