Chiefs, Maidens cross country runners get ready for 2018 season

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THE RONAN High School cross country teams poses for a photo right before their traditional season-opening 100-mile run Tuesday afternoon at Ronan High School. (photo courtesy of Noelle Winbrenner)

The Ronan High School boys and girls cross country teams will be changing the dynamics of their teams headed into the 2018 cross country season.

“We lost three seniors and we have three boys and one girl with a good group of freshmen coming in this year,” Chiefs, Maidens’ coach Noelle Winebrenner said. “We will be really young but we will be in pretty good shape the next couple of years.”

Winebrenner, who is excited about her team’s potential headed into the new season, said she felt both of her teams are a “work in progress.”

“It is a work in progress and by the time we get towards the end of the season, a lot of our hard work will pay off,” Winebrenner said. “There will be several kids that were freshmen last year and ran track last spring as well for me. There was some big success in track and they came on really well towards the end of the season. That left them feeling excited about the cross country season and the potential they have. They have matured from the cross country season as freshmen and they saw some big gains throughout the last few seasons. I am excited about the fall to be able to see what they are able to do.”

Because of the team’s youth, it will change the dynamics from a lot of previous teams.

“The dynamic of our team will be different from the past two seasons and it’ll be interesting to see how things will shape out by the end of the year,” Winebrenner said. “We just have a wide range of abilities and are closer together. It is not a big gap and some of the younger kids will close that gap by the end of the year.”

The boy’s team will have one elite runner in James Normandeau, who is a returning all-stater.

“The boys can get it done but they are going to take a little while and we just have to be patient because it will be a work in progress all season,” Winebrinner said. “When the conference championship and state championship come around is when we need to all come together.”

Last year, the Chiefs transitioned from Class B to Class A, and they continue to adjust now in their second season in that classification.

“It been a transition moving back to Class A and we’ve taken some big blows as far as losing some key runners,” Winebrenner said. “James Normandeau and Micheal Koehler have much experience going into their jobs as leaders with pulling the rest of the team up and keeping everyone positive.”

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