Seeking improvement

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 1:31 p.m. CDT

The returning members from last year's Clarke cross country team showed a lot of improvement throughout the season last year.

But Clarke head cross country coach Kayleen McCann said she still expects a lot of improvement this year.

"Everyone's been working hard," she said. "Everybody has experience running, we're just short on numbers. I expect a lot of improvement. It will be a great opportunity for kids to show what they can do, step up, and time for them to show leadership."

Gone from last year's team is school record holder Kylar McCann and one of the leaders of the boys team in Chasen Selsor. Also lost to graduation was Corbin Simmons.

The Clarke girls team features three returning runners in Tiffany McKnight, Mayela Vega and Samaria Parada.

"Tiffany ran last year, the past couple of years," McCann said. "She's done a good job. She seems to peak at the right time, at the end of the year. Samaria's going to be out for awhile, but she'll be back with us later. Mayela was out last year and she did a nice job. She kind of ran into some knee injuries."

Joining the team this year is freshman Lindsay Mumaw, who competed for the Clarke junior high team last year.

"She ran over the summer, so I expect good things from her, too," McCann said.

McCann said she believes McKnight and Mumaw will lead the way for the Lady Indians this season.

On the boys side, Jake Manternach, Nick Johnston and Geo Smith all return.

"Jake, he's been out since middle school, so he knows most of the courses and what's going on," McCann said. "Nick ran some really good races last year, so I'm hoping it falls true this year, as well. Geo really looks like he's improved from last year, and he improved a lot last year."

The boys team is full of new faces, as well. Joining the Indians this year are Ian Showers, Nathan McCann, Nick Norris, James Robinson and RJ Sells.

"James is new for us, and I look forward to having him on the team," McCann said. "He seems to fit in real well. Ian ran middle school for us. Like his mom said, he's got lots of endurance and stamina to make up for his lack of height there, but I'm looking for good things from him. I think he and Jake will really push each other.

"Nathan, last year was his first year to run," McCann continued. "We've been running further, so I think that will help him a lot. Another new person we have is Nick Norris, and he ran over the summer quite a bit, too. RJ is new. I guess he used to go to school here and he's back again. We're glad to add him to our team."

McCann expects Manternach, Showers and Johnston to lead the way for the boys team this year.

"I just think it will take some time and some competition," McCann said about seeing the improvement she expects. "Once we start some meets, that's where everyone will show what they've got and what they're made of."

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