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Experienced Tell City expects to climb higher

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By LARRY GOFFINET
Sports Editor

TELL CITY—After a couple of down years for them, Tell City’s cross country boys expect to rebound thanks to depth and experience.
The Marksmen have 16 boys on the team, four more than last year. And they return their top four runners and five of their top seven.
The top four, senior twins Caleb and Cameron Sherry and Brook Smith and junior Donovan Ingle, are in a close race for the team’s No. 1 spot, with only 15 to 20 seconds separating them in practice races, said Coach Chris Hollinden.
“Right now I’d probably go with Caleb for No. 1,” he added. “But Brook was first (among the team’s runners) at the Schweizer Fest. And Donovan led our time trials a couple of days before Schweizer Fest.
“They remind me a lot of the group I was part of in 1999 (when the Marksmen won the Jasper sectional and placed second in the regional).
“We need a couple of them to step up and be great, though—not just good.”
Sophomore Clayton Byrne is “probably” the team’s No. 5 runner now, said Hollinden.
He was sixth or seventh on the team late in his freshman season and “he’s put in a monster summer,” said Hollinden. “He really wants to be good at this sport and right now he’s running really well.”
Travis Brinksneader, a junior who ran track last year but is in his first year of cross country, is “right on his tail,” said Hollinden.
Sophomores Reed Goffinet and Zach Ziegelgruber are also battling for spots in the varsity lineup.
The Marksmen have not won the PAC (last year they were third), placed in the top two in their sectional, or qualified for the semistate (last year Floyd Central edged them for the final berth via the sixth-man tie-breaker) for the last two years, but Hollinden thinks those streaks could end this year.
“Probably Gibson Southern and us will be the two teams that are going to go at it (for the PAC title),” he said.
He said the top two teams in the sectional “should be us and Perry Central.
“I think we have a really good chance of going to the semistate, and if we can get there I think we can make some noise.”
The keys to getting there?
“No. 1 is to stay healthy,” said Hollinden. “And No. 2 is also to stay healthy.”