Cross Country Teams Return Plenty Of Talent

Posted on August 20, 2015 in Boy's Cross Country, Fall Sports, Girl's Cross Country

MIER — Coming off a season where they combined for 15 major titles including two regional titles and a state ranking for the girls’ team, the Oak Hill boys’ and girls’ cross country teams return plenty of talent this fall.

The girls’ team comes off a season where it took runner-up in the sectional and won the regional. The Eagles also won the Grant Four and Central Indiana Conference championships.

The Eagles return five runners who were named All-CIC last season. Sophomore Margo Hornocker returns after a freshman year where she was named first team all state and All-CIC. Brooke Hasty returns for a senior season where she was named All-CIC and was named all state. Senior India Ulshafer and sophomores Camille Taylor and Savannah Hart also return after being named All-CIC last season.

Senior Elissa Austin joins those All-CIC members as the key returners from last year.

“This group of girls is extremely motivated and hungry to have another shot at being a state-caliber team,” Oak Hill coach Paige Brunner said. “Three of these girls had a heartbreaking end to cross country followed by a heartbreaking end to track with the 4 x 800 relay just missing a state berth. They are harder and tougher because of those experiences and that will only benefit them.”

Added to the group of returners is newcomer freshman Jenessa Hasty.

The girls’ team will look to replace Shallen Lenhart, who finished runner-up at the sectional. Hornocker was fourth at the sectional, while Hasty was fifth, Taylor was 14th and Hart was 16th. Lenhart was fifth at the regional, while Hornocker was sixth. Hasty also was in the top 20, taking 14th.

“Brooke is very motivated and had a very strong summer,” Brunner said. “Our three sophomores are looking to make big strides runners tend to make freshmen to sophomores seasons. I believe our team is a closer group this season and our pack moving up as a whole will replace what Shallen did up front. We need a solid fifth and right now Jenessa is right on the front four’s heels. The closer she is to them the stronger we will be. Elissa and India have great experience and need to be Jenessa’s shadow in races.”

The boys’ team comes off a season where it won the sectional, regional, CIC and Grant Four championships. The boys’ team has won 16 straight Grant Four championships. The Eagles have won 11 of the last 13 CIC  championships.

The boys’ team returns three All-CIC members. Chandler Julius returns for his senior year. He was named all state last year and won the CIC. Senior Beau Clouser and junior Silas Vermilya also return after being named All-CIC last season. Julius took second at last year’s sectional, while Clouser was ninth. That helped Oak Hill score 41 points and beat Northfield by three tallies for the title. Clouser was fifth at the regional, helping the Eagles beat Northfield on a tiebreaker. Vermilya was 23rd.

“Our top three will be very talented,” Brunner said. “Beau had a great summer and Chandler obviously is a very talented runner. If Silas takes the next step then we will be as good as anyone one through three.”

Senior Zach Gunter returns after being the Eagles’ sixth runner last year. Brunner said freshman Colin Harts, sophomore J.C. Herring and Drake Stancil will be key additions to the Eagles. Brunner said Harts arguably had the best summer/camp the team has ever had an incoming freshman have.

The Eagles will look to replace graduates Bradey Newhouse and Nate Saylors.

“Bradey was an outstanding leader for us last year and Nate always finished strong and fought,” Brunner said. “The goals never change for our boys, compete for a county, conference and sectional championship while also focusing on advancing both team and individuals as far as we possibly can in the tournament. If we have 1-2 guys mesh well and step up when we have every opportunity to be right back where we were a year ago.”

Oak Hill runs at Huntington North on Saturday.

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