By: John Raffel
Ionia cross country set to be competitive again
By John Raffel
Ionia cross country coach Brian Powell and co-coach Lisa Wandell expect to have another competitive boys and girls squad in the Capital Area Activities Conference White Conference.
“Our boys competed well, finishing second in the CAAC white and fifth at the D2 regionals,” Powell said. “Seven boys earned all-league or honorable mention all-league honors. Zakk Hensley was an individual state meet qualifier.”
Key athletes that graduated from last season's team were Nick Brown (captain, all-league), Tyler Esch (captain), Colin Listerman (all-league), Josh Trierweiler and Riley Frisbie.
“These boys went through two coaching changes during their careers and persevered, providing outstanding leadership to a very young team.”
Key players are Zakk Hensley (12), Heath LaPointe (10), Josiah Magley (10), Riley Husted (10) and Wyatt Montgomery (10).
“Zakk will need to provide senior leadership to a talented, but young group of guys,” Powell said. “The youngsters have already shown in both cross country and track that they are capable of big things. Zakk, Heath, Josiah and Riley are returning all-league runners and will need to take another step forward for us to reach our goals.
“We have been working to gain ground on Lansing Catholic who has won the league several years in a row and has been a state power. We think we are in position to challenge them and are excited to start racing. We also expect to be in the hunt to qualify as a team for the D2 state finals. We have solid depth and can be a pretty tight pack. Since we are so young, we need to continue to develop our racing strategy skills and attention to detail.
“Lansing Catholic remains the favorite until someone proves they can beat them. Charlotte should be good as well. We think we have prepared well to be able to challenge for the championship. We are excited to get the season started and see how much improvement we have made over the last 12 months. It should be a great year for cross country in mid-Michigan.”