As the fall season approaches, the St. Mary’s Colgan Cross Country team is getting ready to hit the trails with a determined spirit and a roster of talented athletes. Led by Coach Scott Cichon, who has steered the team for six successful years, the Panthers are ready to tackle the competition in the CNC league.

Recapping the Thrills of 2022

In the previous year, both the girls’ and boys’ teams showcased their prowess on the tracks. The girls secured an impressive 2nd place in the CNC league and soared to victory as 2A Regional Champions. Their remarkable journey led them to the 9th spot at the 2A State Championship. Meanwhile, the boys captured 4th place in the CNC league and landed a respectable 7th position at the 2A Regional meet.

Saying Farewell to Stars, Welcoming New Talents

Last season, the team bid adieu to some remarkable talents who left their mark. Among them were Leyna Ortega, whose impressive times earned her the All-CNC title and a best time of 22:52 in the 2022 season, as well as Ava Glover, with a season-best time of 24:39. The boys’ team said goodbye to Alex Brake, an All-CNC member with a stellar 18:45 season-best time.

Strength in Returners

The upcoming season is not short on returning talents. The girls’ team boasts a strong lineup with five returning lettermen. Keep an eye on senior standouts Lily Brown, Gianna Costantini, and Polona Kalan, all of whom earned the All-CNC distinction. Lily Brown, a Regional Medalist, clocked an impressive 21:03 in the 2022 season.

The boys’ team matches this strength with five returning lettermen of their own. Senior Curtis Dickman, junior Ethan Paulie, and sophomore Michael Vacek are names to watch, with season-best times of 20:55, 20:12, and 19:33 respectively.

Fresh Faces Bring New Energy

Adding excitement to the mix, the team welcomes fresh faces. Gillian Wilbert, a promising freshman, joins the girls’ team, while Colton Smithhisler, a determined freshman, joins the boys’ team.

Setting Eyes on 2023

With high hopes and fierce determination, the Panthers have their sights set on the upcoming season. The girls’ team enters the race with a clear goal: building on the momentum of their previous year’s accomplishments. With all five scorers from the regional championship meet returning, they’re determined to claim a spot on the state championship podium. Senior Lily Brown and senior Polona Kalan are aiming for individual medals at the state championship.

On the boys’ side, a young and spirited team is preparing to make significant strides. Their aim is to qualify for the state championship as a team, showcasing remarkable improvements. Senior Curtis Dickman, junior Ethan Paulie, sophomore Michael Vacek, and freshman Colton Smithhisler all have their eyes set on the state championship as individual contenders.

As the St. Mary’s Colgan Cross Country team laces up their running shoes, the excitement is palpable. With a blend of experienced runners and fresh talents, Coach Scott Cichon and the Panthers are poised to make their mark on the trails and leave an indelible impression on the 2023 season. Stay tuned for the thrilling races, inspiring performances, and unforgettable moments that lie ahead!