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FROM STAFF REPORTS
Aurora -- Greenmen cross country head coach Laura Bell said she is excited to see what the future holds for the boys and girls teams this fall.
The program continue to grows, with 85 participants this year. The boys welcome 15 new faces and the girls welcome 19. "Both programs have been working extremely hard since June, and it is showing," Bell said.
"In our second year in the Suburban League, we're working hard to maintain the title. Our goals are set high, and we want to take both teams to levels we've not seen since transitioning to Division I.
"The runners have positive minds, are jelling as a team and are understanding they must compete not for themselves but for their teammates."
GIRLS TEAM OUTLOOK
The varsity returns all of its regional qualifiers from 2015. On Aug. 13, the girls ran time trials at Goodyear Metropark in Akron to determine who will be the top runners at the opening meet Aug. 27 at Boettler Park in Green.
Leading the way will be returnees Olivia Grohe, Brynn Sesny, Katy Fellenstein, Madeline Schmitt, Shelby Adler, Hailey Adler, Marissa Henderson and Abbey Stechler, along with freshmen Karsen Zabell and Elizabeth Miller.
Samantha Grohe and Elizabeth Keller will return, but will start in the JV races because of a minor setback and not being able to compete in the time trials.
"We will look to them and their experience to lead the junior varsity and new athletes in our first race," Bell said.
BOYS TEAM OUTLOOK
"The boys program has been hiding in the girls shadows for the last two years and is ready to make a comeback," the coach said.
"We have a lot of returning upperclassmen and some fresh faces to take the places of the 2016 graduates."
Running varsity this weekend will be seniors David Meredith, Zachary Jenkins, Matthew Peluso, Ryan Markowitz, junior Connor Brown, sophomores Robbie Taylor, Michael Kaplan, Solomon Bibza and Henry Rees and freshman Samuel Siedel.
Bibza and Rees are new to the sport; they played soccer their freshmen year.
"The chemistry of the boys team is outstanding, and it was developed over the summer through great leadership from Jenkins and Peluso," Bell said.
Junior Tyler Liston is a returning varsity runner who missed an opening varsity spot by 4 seconds. "I'm confident this will be a driving force for him to work even harder to compete with the varsity," Bell said.
"Both teams have a lot of potential and if they can stay healthy when it counts, believe in their abilities and are willing to work together as a team, the possibilities are endless."
The cross country season kicked off with the second annual Greenmen Stampede on JUly 31, with an outstanding turnout.
The event raised just under $5,000 for team operations and to provide scholarships for 2017 graduating seniors in memory of Tommy Dankelson and Jack Morrison.
"The success was due to our amazing parents' hard work in collecting sponsorships and donations," Bell said.
Several senior girls, especially Henderson and Josie Stummer, passed out fliers and sought donations.
"It was a great community event to bring awareness to cross country and allow for others to experience what a typical race is like," Bell said.
The program welcomes back coaches Scott Black and Coley Obrien, plus newcomer Elizabeth Bibza.