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he Southeast Valley cross country teams have been busy at work the past two weeks with official practices getting ready for the upcoming season.  On Thursday, August 23rd, the Jaguars will know exactly where they sit against their competition when they compete in their first meet of the season.  

This year’s team has 36 members on it; 13 on the girls’ side and 23 on the boys’ side.  Leading the Jaguar girls’ are a quintet of seniors including the top three runners from last years’ team in Alli True, Sammy Alphs and Katara Jondle.Fellow seniors Chelsea Grossnickle and Hannah Rees join them to lead this year's’ team and vie for a varsity spot.

Also competing for one of the top 7 varsity spots are juniors Emma Hunter, Viatris Scott, Taegan Long and Christine Housken.  Sophomores Emily Hemmestad, Morgan Farnham, and Marlie Johnson all competed in varsity races at some point last year and look to push this years’ juniors and seniors on the team.  The lone freshman and newcomer to this years’ Southeast Valley roster is Jayden Gardipee.

Seniors Coledon Bethel and Ben Carlson look to be the top two runners on this year’s boys’ team.  As juniors last year, Coledon and Ben were the main two and three runners behind state qualifier Patrick Breitsprecher who graduated last season.  Senior Isaiah Gibbs, who saw some varsity races also returns for the Jags. Four other seniors, Andrew Urelius, Dillon Sytsma, Evan McCrady and Blane Martens will also be looking to earn one of the top 7 varsity positions this year.

Newcomer and junior Robert Jepsen has been right up with Coledon and Ben in early season practices this year followed by fellow juniors Parker Johnson, Lincoln Miller and Nolan Jackson.  Johnson, Miller, and Jackson all competed in varsity races at some point last year. Returning junior AJ Smith as well new juniors Ross Halligan and Zane Geis are on this year’s Southeast Valley roster.  

Sophomores competing on this year’s team are Blake Peterson, Logan Stapp and Sam Sytsma.  Blake and Logan both competed last year and are joined by a group of strong freshman. Asa Haub, Carson Suchan, Mason King and Zach Thompson, who competed in cross country as 8th graders and were usually separated at the finish by mere seconds will begin their high school campaigns.  Will Halligan will be joining his freshman classmates making his cross country debut and has already made improvements in his first year of distance running.

The Jaguars open the season with their only home meet of the season on Thursday, August 23rd, in Gowrie at the Gowrie Country Club.  The Jaguars would love to see everybody’s support as they compete in their first meet of the season. The boys compete first at 5pm followed by the girls’ race at 5:40pm.  If you’ve never been to a cross country meet before, this would be a great opportunity to experience a sporting event like no other.

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