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TELL CITY—Sarah Goffinet gives Tell City’s cross country team a strong No. 1 runner again this year, but the Marksmen are lacking in depth.
Goffinet won the PAC and sectional meets last year as a freshman and placed 10th in the semistate to qualify for the state meet.
She took up where she left off last year in Thursday’s season-opening Forest Park invitational, winning the race in 21:51.
Other letter winners returning from last year are Andyn Rowe, Brittany Waninger, Mariah Nix and Erika Hauenstein.
Two newcomers, Katelyn Braunecker and Hanna Goffinet, are challenging them for spots in the top five, though. Goffinet is a freshman and Braunecker is a sophomore who was a sprinter on the track team last spring.
Tell City Coach Katie Chinn said seeing the success of another sprinter who tried cross country, Forest Park’s Athena Haake, inspired Braunecker to also try it.
Rowe was usually the team’s No. 3 runner last year and has moved up to No. 2 this year with the graduation of Tiffany Davis, who now runs for IUPUI.
Chinn said Thursday the No. 3 spot “is a tossup right now between Katelyn and Brittany.”
Rowe placed 13th in the Forest Park invitational in 24:09. Waninger was 26th in 26:00, Hanna Goffinet 30th in 26:36, Hauenstein 33rd in 27:15, and Nix 35th in 27:55.
Braunecker did not run Thursday and will also miss the Marksmen’s hokum karem meet at Clarksville Tuesday, Tell City’s traditional season opener.
Chinn said her team needs to close the gap between its first and fifth scorers. But she thinks the Marksmen have a shot at placing second in the PAC and finishing in the top five in the sectional to qualify for the regional.
She said defending champion Heritage Hills is the favorite again in the conference and Southridge should also be good. “For us to finish No. 2 would be awesome.”
She said Perry Central, Heritage Hills and Jasper appear to be the top three teams in the Jasper sectional. That leaves Tell City, Southridge, Forest Park and Northeast Dubois competing for the other two regional berths.
“We’re going to have to bring our A-game” to qualify for the regional, said Chinn. “We had a four-minute gap between our first and third runners today—that’s going to have to be much, much closer.”