Senior Karen Barrientos, who has the potential lead any race she runs, heads a group of five returning letterwinners for coach Christina Powers’ Dragons.
Joining Barrientos as girls who will have to lead the team include juniors Carlie Watt, Abby Licate, Megan Abrams and Cassidy Mollick.
“We will use the experience and past successes of our returning letterwinners and combine it with our new members of the team who bring young talent and work ethic to gain new success,” Powers said. “We need to focus on closing the gap between the times of the girls and keeping them healthy and training well.”
Looking to make an impact this season are juniors Tori Cox and Kaitlynn Mayberry, sophomores Krista Severe, Kristen Steed and Erika van’t Veer and freshmen Abbie Volpone and Shyanne Cooper.
Powers and the Dragons wish to repeat as champions at the All-Ashtabula County Meet and improve upon their finish at the 2012 PAC Meet.
“We hope to continue to hold the All-County title,” Powers said. “We want to move up from our third place standing in the PAC. We also want to place better in Districts. We are looking toward the end of the season to have success as a team and individually at the regional and state level.”
Depending on whether you’re a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty person, the Beavers either have a lot of experience returning or they have lost a lot of experience from their 2012 incarnation.
Chris Basich seems to be a glass-half-full coach with five of his 11 letterwinners returning to the squad in seniors Melissa Rodewald, Julia Krauss and Stephanie Page, junior Becca Martin and sophomore Katie Durisin.
“We have an experienced senior class and also have some strong younger runners to back them up,” Basich said. “Standouts Stephanie Page and sophomore Katie Durisin both qualified for regionals this past track season in the distance events, so we’ll be looking to them to lead the charge.”
There is a plethora of options after those first five for the Beavers, including juniors Alyssa Catalano and Bailey Baker, sophomores Kirsten Szynaloski, Emily Lupica, Danielle Brown and Alyssa Brown and freshmen Christine Knilburn, Kaylee Baker and Katie Page.
Basich wants to finish in the top three at the PAC Meet and trusts that his experienced and inexperienced runners will mesh well enough to make that happen.
“We placed fourth last year and look to improve on our finish this year,” Basich said. “I believe our younger runners will step up this year to help our strong senior class.”
The following schools did not return information sheets sent to them in July:
Madison, Perry and Pymatuning Valley.
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula. Reach him at email@example.com.