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Aurora -- According to Greenmen cross country coach Laura Bell, anything can happen in the 2014 season.
"This year brings us 27 new athletes to the program, and overall the team is very young with a lot of potential," she said. "And the runners are backing it up with dedication."
The girls team continues to grow, "and it is really hard to tell who is going to be the varsity competitors by the end of the season," the coach noted. "There's going to be a lot of inter-squad competition, which will only drive the overall team performance."
The boys' team numbers are down, but Bell said the runners are working very hard and are "hungry for success."
Bell said she looks for sophomores Samantha and Olivia Grohe and senior Dana Cassidy to lead the girls. In 2013, Samantha had the best time of the returning runners at 19:24, while Cassidy was next at 20:22.5.
Others returning to the varsity are Marissa Henderson (third best returning time at 20:54.9) , Abbey Stechler (fourth best at 21:49), Emily Keller, Sammie Miller, Hannah Swan, Allison Jenkins and Jacqueline Caputo.
Returning JVs are Brittany Schambach, Morgan Miller, Brooke Kosar, Olivia Pollack, Megan Phillips, Kaylin Anderson, Sydney Pinney, Haley Gromack and Josephine Stummer.
Also back are Sarah Marchese, Rachelle Love, Megan Maull, Emily and Kathleen Cymanski, Nora Dillow, Maiko Reed and Abigail Jensen.
Seventeen new faces will compete for one of seven varsity spots each week.
THEY ARE Kenedie Barner, Olivia Calder, Caroline Caputo, Adrienne Crasi, Taylor Hays, Kelsey Kado, Lara Ketonen, Gene Leib, Whitney Lieberth, Lexie Mehallis, Maria Munoz, Olivia Pinney, Lauren Sapochetti, Marissa Sensy, Caroline Siedel and Kristen Vidziunas.
On the boys' side, Bell said seniors Tristan White and Andrew Swan have worked hard over the summer and are expected to lead the squad. Other returning varsity athletes are Jack Brown, David Meredith, Ian Houston and Zachary Jenkins.
"We are expecting most, if not all, to run in the low-17 minutes," she said. "With Swan in the 16-minute range [his best last year was 16:41], it could be a solid varsity squad if they stay healthy and race together as a team."
Brown's best in 2013 was 17:55.9, White's best was 18:32.2, and Meredith also came in under 19 minutes at 18:46.5.
Returning JV boys are Sam Flowers, Ryan Carey, Scott Carlson, Josh Kane, Garret Aini, David Intihar, Dane Fellenstein, Matt Peluso and Gaven Baker.
New athletes are Connor Brown, Cale Fellenstein, Tyler Hayes, Tyler Liston, Ryan Markowitz, Gunnar Meyer, Matthew Peluso, Naszi Pittman, David Riley, Neel Saya and Peter Vidziunas.
"At this point, I do not know who will be on the varsity from week to week," Bell said. "Both squads have a lot of talent and are working very hard to be successful. They have a lot of big goals, and are working hard to reach them. It's going to be a really exciting year."
Last weekend, the teams conducted time trials to determine who the top seven athletes will be at the Berkshire Invitational. That event is Aug. 23 at the Kent State University Geauga County campus in Burton.