By Bill Bray
FREMONT– 23 athletes will represent the boys’ and girls’ cross country team’s for the 2023 season according to long-time coach John Elder.
“We lose one senior Mackenzie Smith-she will be hard replace,” Elder said. “Currently she is running at Heidelberg College.”
Ross’ girls team qualified for the Regional Tournament in 2022 and Elder has expectations of qualifying for Regionals again in 2022. “However, that will difficult,” Elder said with caution. “Our #1 runner Evelyn Szymanowski is coming off a bothering leg injury. “So far she is feeling no pain,” Elder explained. but we are taking this one step at a time and hope she will be ready to go at championship time.” Other seniors consist of Taylor Peck, Mariah Ramirez, and Sophia Sanchez. “We also return Kenna Tooman and Kylie Peck. Kenna has been looking very strong this summer.,” Elder added.
Sophomore Jaiden Long ran as the #8 runner last year. Elder says he expects Long will be in the varsity mix this season. Ella Lozano has also been added to the team. Lozano made a name for herself last spring as part of the regional qualifying 4 x 800 and 4 x 200 during the 2022 track season. “We think she can be a huge contributor,” Elder said.
The team has three freshman girls moving up with Sophia Metcalf, Kennedy Walker, Malaya Hughes the trio will join sophomore Miley Sheidler that will make the team competitive.
Elder is looking forward to an exciting season with his Little Giants moving to the Northern Lakes League. “It means we will continue to compete with the huge Perrysburg team.”
The boys’ team will be led by senior veteran Will Kiser. “Will has been our top runner since coming in as a freshman,” Elder said. “Will has high expectations as do I for his final season. He has probably run more this summer than previous summers and it has shown in our workouts.” Sophomore Boogie Sanchez is running second to Kiser. “He (Sanchez) also has worked very hard this summer. “So right now, we look good at the #’s 1-2.”
The rest of the team is showing well during summer workouts according to Elder. “After that we have many who are capable of being right behind our first two. Seniors Eliot Haitonic and Evan Beardmore are experienced should be ready to go. Junior Jaheim Stratton who was our most improved last season looks like he is starting off where he ended last year. Freshman Andrew Tooman, Dane Denman and Colin Rich will be contributors as they get experience.”
Elder is excited about a new transfer, junior Aiden Weber from Port Clinton who left Fremont after seventh grade. According to the coach, Weber is back in purple and running in the top seven. A nice addition for sure.
Rounding out the 11 is sophomore Logan Gibson who battled leg issues all track season and freshman Jerrell Sims. “Like I said after our first two, there are many unknowns, but if we develop like I think we can the boys can be very competitive.”
The teams open their season Tuesday with their annual “Norm Bray” memorial invitational. The meet was postponed from Saturday because of the wet conditions at Walsh Park. The event starts at 5:00 pm with the boy’s race followed by the girl’s competition at 5:45 pm followed by middle school.