Cross Country Back for More

Posted on August 25, 2010 in Fall Sports, News

Loss of Balser doesn’t worry Brunner, Oak Hill

Published: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 1:07 AM EDT

The Oak Hill boys’ cross country team is beginning the year without a returning state qualifier from the year before for the first time in six years. The news is more dire when you consider that Cameron Balser, the school’s top runner the last four years, is that returning state qualifier that has moved on to college.

But none of that worries Coach Paige Brunner, who sees plenty of talent and experience returning for the upcoming season.

“Cameron is a pretty big loss to the team but we have six guys back that were on the varsity team last year,” Brunner said.

Grabbing all-conference honors last season, Luke Colvin and Alec Jones look to lead the Golden Eagles deep into the postseason for the ninth straight year.

Colvin qualified for semistate last season and Jones had a breakout track season last spring.

“Luke has the talent and composure to become the next top state-level individual (for Oak Hill),” Brunner said.

As Brunner looks to Colvin to become the team’s new leader, he hopes the success Jones experienced last spring will carry over to help guide the team this season.

Also returning for Oak Hill are Alec’s brother, Curtis, and Christian Daugherty. Curtis suffered an injury last season but both he and Daugherty put in miles over the summer to prepare for the fall.

“Everyone is working hard and the motivation is clearly there,” Brunner said.

For the earlier part of the season the slots for the top four are set in Colvin, the Jones brothers and Daugherty. Barring any injuries the team may face, one of Brunner’s main challenges will be finding a runner to fill in the remaining slots.

“Injuries are always an important part of a team’s season,” Brunner said. “We have a handful of guys that will work to fill the other slots.”

Brunner’s team holds numerous streaks that keep the Golden Eagles a favorite locally as well as in Class 2A. Eastbrook is predicted to challenge Oak Hill in the sectional and the Central Indiana Conference. Maconaquah will provide another challenge in the sectional for the Golden Eagles.

Last season, Oak Hill earned a win at the Grant Four for the 11th straight season. The Golden Eagles also grabbed the championship of the Central Indiana Conference meet.

Oak Hill finished the year strong with a third-place finish at the Logansport Sectional, a fifth-place at the Culver Regional and qualified for semistate for the eighth consecutive season. The streak is the longest active streak in Class 1A –2A.

The Golden Eagles hold 14 sectional championships, with its last coming in 2007, the same year Oak Hill also captured the regional championship.

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