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By LARRY GOFFINET
TELL CITY—More depth and tighter grouping between the first and fifth runners could help Tell City’s girls cross country team move up this year.
There are 12 girls on the team, the most in several years.
The team’s two seniors have not competed for two years but one of them, Tori Payne, “is running awesome,” said Tell City Coach Katie Weyer.
She said “it’s a tossup” between Payne and Hailey Carman, last year’s No. 1 runner, as to who is No. 1 on the team now.
“Then Addie and Audrie Terry, Mariah Blake and Jaylynn Pruitt (one of four freshmen on the team) are all right there.
“Bailey Powell is super close to them but she’s been sidelined a few days with a quad injury. And I really think Mercedes Mendez will sneak in there later in the season.”
She mentioned eight runners and only seven can run in the varsity PAC meet and sectional. Thus “this is the first year in a long time that they’ll actually have to earn their spot on the varsity,” said Weyer.
And the runners competing for the No. 5 scorer are “actually pretty close to” the No. 1 competitors, Weyer said. “I don’t think (the time gap between Nos. 1 and 5) will be as great as it’s been in the past.”
Tell City was fifth among seven complete teams in the PAC and seventh among seven complete teams in the Jasper sectional last year.
With more depth and tighter competition on the team this year, Weyer expects to improve on both those finishes.
In the conference, “I’d say we could be in the top two or three,” she said. “If we could be in the top three, that would be good.”
In the sectional “top four would be good,” she said, listing Perry Central, Southridge and Jasper as three top opponents.
The top five in the sectional qualify for the regional. “That’s our goal,” said Weyer. “We haven’t been to the regional as a team in three years.”
To achieve that goal, “they all have to stay healthy,” said Weyer. “And a lot’s going to be on them to figure out they can actually do it.”