> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
The Red Devils are expected to go through some growing pains as they have a young and inexperienced roster.
Caleb Boutell has the most varsity experience as he was Jeff’s No. 6 or 7 runner in most meets last season. Sophomore Luke Cope also returns to the Red Devils. As for the rest of the Jeff roster, it consists of junior varsity runners from a year ago and newcomers.
“This season is a mystery to me. I have never been in this situation of not knowing much about my team, but I like it,” Jeff coach Mark Felix said. “We will be a work in progress with a lot of new kids, little experience and very tough competition.”
Coach Paul Hamilton says this season’s team is one of his youngest in his 20-year coaching career, but he says he has got a lot of good, young talent.
Sophomore Matt Sogge is expected to be the Bulldogs’ top runner. The rest of New Albany’s top four runners are senior Theron Gust and juniors Andrew Bostock and Tre Lynch.
More than half of New Albany’s roster are freshmen. Headlining that group are Tim Baumgart, Asher Wheat and James Haller. Hamilton thinks Seymour, Bedford North Lawrence and Floyd Central are the top teams in the HHC, while the Highlanders, Borden and North Harrison will battle for the Crawford County Sectional title.
“The outlook for our season appears promising,” Hamilton said. “We’ve had a great summer of attendance. The guys have learned the importance of dedication. With young runners, you see improvement by leaps and bounds. We are hoping to see their improvement sky-rocket from now through October.”
Three key runners return for the Mustangs in senior Devin Herron and juniors James Clemons and Matthew Mosley. Freshman Bailey Hecker is expected to be a major contributor for New Wash.
Coach Jonathan May is looking for a new leader after the graduation of Adan Diaz.
“With the loss of Adan Diaz, we will be looking for someone to not only push themselves, but the rest of their teammates each day in practice,” May said. “Our guys need to learn to have more mental and physical toughness in order to fight through the ups and downs of a race.”