By Lenny Sementi
Seniors Hannah Hornaday, Kenzi Heckler and Brynn Tabeling have been with the cross country team since entering high school this year. They were joined by a few classmates, one on the girls team and one on the boys. Volleyball was moved to the spring so Laney Cummings thought she would give cross-country a try and with football moved to the spring as well Aiden Beachy thought he would do the same. The duo gave coach Mike Rosenbaum some depth but now they are part of the scoring mechanisms for the two squads.
Cummings has improved every week since the onset of the fall season, won the Moultrie-Douglas Invite a week ago and has been the number one runner four times this year. She led the way for the Lady Warriors in a quadrangular meet at Casey-Westfield last Saturday the 26th taking fifth place overall with a time of 21 minutes and 46 seconds. Tabeling was a few spots back in eighth place crossing the line in 22:14. Sophomore Reggan Smith ended her run in 13th overall with a time of 25:10. Hornaday followed close behind finishing one spot back in the four spot for coach Rosenbaum. Makenzie Herschberger was the final scoring runner for the black and gold while Heckler and Kyla Gough served as alternates.
Jackson Barrett was the first Tuscola runner to finish taking seventh overall in a race boasting a very good Olney team. Freshman Barrett turned in an 18:02 to lead the way for the second place Warriors. Junior Riley Nolan was the next up taking tenth with an 18:41. Another ninth grader Will Foltz was literally the next in line taking 11th. Beachy scored for the second time in his short career in 13th as did sophomore Mason Veach who broke 20 minutes for the third time in his career rounding the course in 19:44.
“It was a unique experience for us, as this was the first ever Casey Westfield Open,” stated the coach. “A lot of our experienced runners got to see a new course for the first time in a while, and it gave them the opportunity to just go out and run without really thinking about a specific strategy on a course.”
Two newcomers to the varsity ranks on the boys side were junior Thomas Brown and Ben Hornaday. Hornaday was in the top twenty in 20th with a 21:21 while Brown, a first time runner this season, was just outside in 21st PR’ing for the sixth time this season erasing another 51 seconds from his previous best posting a 22:06.”
“It has been a couple straight weeks of heavy mileage as we are working towards the championship phase of our season,” commented coach Rosenbaum. “That being said, it was cool for Ben Hornaday and Thomas Brown to compete in their first varsity race this year, and Thomas really stepped up to the plate, running a personal best by 50 seconds. Definitely a cool experience for him, and it sets us up nicely for meets in Rantoul and Monticello. The kids really like the course at Lodge Park, so I’ll be interested to see how we do on Thursday.”