By Lenny Sementi
New cross-country coach Mike Rosenbaum was all smiles at the end of the year banquet. The first year leader of the tribe welcomed a combined seventeen runners to the boys and girls squads most of which erased minutes from their season opening times by the time the post season rolled around. Nine runners posted personal records when the dust cleared with a pair of All Central Illinois Conference honorees leading the way.
“We were extremely proud of how the season went,” stated the Coach. “It was a great group of kids who were very competitive and worked hard night in and night out. Overall it was a great year.”
Senior and fourth year runner Mason Day led the pack for the boys collecting his second All CIC patch of his career while junior and three-time all league performer Brynn Tabeling was out in front for the girls team. The duo added to their season hardware collection each earning MVP awards for their respective teams.
Day set a team best and personal best time of sixteen minutes and forty-one seconds at the Spartan Classic and was the lone advancer for the Warriors out of the Tuscola Regional. Sophomore Logan Wallace was next on the list also posting his best time of the last two seasons in St Joe rounding the three-mile road course in seventeen minutes and thirty-seven seconds. River Kanitz was strong as well especially in the middle of the year for the Warriors he ran one of his best races of the year at the Tuscola Classic as Rosenbaum’s group collected five medals between the boys and girls.
Seniors Nick Woods and Zachariah Mattingly were scorers all yearlong along with sophomore Riley Nolan attributed to giving the coach a solid lineup while Caleb Haste and Jacob Middleton served as alternates. The hard work paid off for Nolan as he collected the coveted Greg Weaver Memorial trophy while Woods earned the boys Warrior spirit award.
“Mason and Logan had outstanding seasons, but two others who really ran well and stepped up as the year progressed were Riley and Nick,” the coach was quoted as saying. “Nick was our vocal leader and I feel he really took ownership of his role on the team ending up being one of our more consistent runners in the end. Riley really took some big strides and I am looking forward to seeing what he can do the next two years.”
Senior Hannah Lemay was the recipient of the Warrior spirit honor on the girl’s side. She was one of the six ladies to turn in season best times at the Spartan Classic. The girls utilized a pack mentality winning numerous regular meets while capturing a pair of invite trophies. The group effort also led to a strong showing at the Tuscola Regional earning them advancement to the Effingham Sectional. Lemay’s classmate Faithlyn Daugherty was the number two runner at a lot of races and was always part of the pack that also included two juniors Hannah Hornaday and Kenzi Heckler.
Two freshmen were shoulder to shoulder with their elders in the pack. Mackenzie Herschberger set a season and personal best of twenty-three minutes and twenty-five seconds taking nearly a full three minutes off her times from late August earning her the Most Improved Runner award. Sage Stahler was the number one at a meet midway thru the year eclipsing the course in twenty-three minutes and ten seconds for the second lowest girls time this season.
“Brynn was one of the better runners in the area, all her hard worked showed earning all conference honors,” said Rosenbaum. “Mackenzie, Sage, Faithlyn and Hannah were not far behind. Those five girls gave us a front-runner and a nice pack keeping the splits between times down which kept our scores down and was a big reason why they were able to advance in the post season.