PHOTO BY RANDY FATH | FOR THE DGKN
At the front of a pack, from left: Dalton cross country runners Tori Boyer, Miki Fath, Emy Nolt, Brianna Chenevey Sept. 9 at Norwayne Invitational at Creston Park.
PHOTOS BY LISA McGINTY | LMc Photography
The Dalton High School girls (top) and boys (above with Dalton Middle School team watching) cross country teams take off Sept. 9 at the Norwayne Invitational at Creston.
After getting a taste of State last year, the competitive returnees and determined newcomers of this season’s Dalton High School cross country team may be the strongest Coach Jodi Augspurger has coached yet.
“Both teams look really solid this year, but it all comes down to what they can do at the end of the season, which is still four weeks away,” Augspurger wrote in an email.
After last week’s Norwayne Invitational at Creston Park, the girls team is now 4-0.
Dalton’s girls and boys teams won their races.
For the girls, Brianna Chenevey placed third (22:13), Miki Fath came in fourth (22:57), Emy Nolt finished fifth (22:57.2), Molly Soehnlen placed sixth (23:00), and Bailey Chenevey came in seventh (23:09) with Janae Hostetler right behind (23:10). Ava Fivecoat rounded out the top 10 by placing ninth at 24:26.
For the boys, Evan Hodkinson and Mitchell Kutz were neck and neck with Hodkinson finishing at 18:24 and Kutz clocking in at 18:24.2. Carson Steiner came in fourth with 19:06, Izaak Phillips placed sixth (20:04), Jordan Wenger finished seventh (20:11), and Kyle Pauley was eighth (20:58).
The girls team has 16 athletes, including five seniors, and half are newcomers. Seniors Miki Fath, Bailey Chenevey, Allison Hirst and Anna Maglott are returning letter winners. Princess Knetzer is among the team’s newcomers this season.
“This season is going amazing,” Fath wrote in a text on Saturday, which incidentally was the day after she found out she and Hodkinson were crowned Homecoming Queen and King. “This is by far the most determined group of girls I’ve ever been able to run with!”
Fath runs cross country and track, and she has run all four years for both.
“I like cross country because the team has a certain bond that you can’t find anywhere else,” she wrote.
Speaking of team traditions, she said, “right before any race begins, we always huddle and pray.”
She added: “I think we have a good shot at going really far this year and I’m so excited to see what we can do!”
This year’s boys team is smaller, with a dozen athletes. The team has three seniors – Kutz and Hodkinson are returning letter winners who ran at State last year, and Jordan Wenger is a newcomer.
“This is the first time he’s ever run cross country and he’s been consistently improving every week,” Augspurger said about Wenger.
The majority of the team are returnees. Along with Wenger, the team has two freshmen. Carson Steiner has been the team’s third runner at each meet for Dalton so far, Augspurger noted.