08/15/04 — Fall sports preview -- Cross Country

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Fall sports preview -- Cross Country

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on August 15, 2004 7:27 AM

Eastern Wayne Boys

Coach: Vince Beasley, seventh season

Last season: 34-0, 23-0 in conference; team ran at the state 3-A championship meet

Gone: Michael Hallock, Jeremy Interrante, Ryan Mayette, Billy Reed and Trey Newell have graduated; John King has moved

Back: Will Collins, Matt Interrante, Michael Lawrence, Joey Burridge, Matt Vogt

Outlook: The Warriors were the team to beat last season and appear to be the team to beat again. The core of the team is a group of seriously dedicated runners, which breeds team unity and depth. The boys want to return to state with a regional title and get in line for a shot at the state 3-A crown.

Eastern Wayne Girls

Coach: Jan Metzler, fourth season

Last season: 12-4, 6-2 in conference; Jamie Vogt ran at the state 3-A championship meet

Gone: Sarah Foley, Erin Acree, Jessica Pate and Jamie Vogt have all graduated; Jasmine LaGrone transferred to the School of Math and Science

Back: Brittany Ham, Natalie Taylor, Leslie Lewis, Tammi Rochell

Outlook: The Warriors will be rebuilding but have a good core of returners. Ham has run at the state meet before and can provide leadership. Metzler hopes for the team to be conference title contenders by the end of the season.

Spring Creek Boys

Coach: Mike Jones, first season

Last season: Not reported

Gone: Albert Newborn, Brian Armstrong and Tavarius James all graduated; Dalress Bell and Quincy Farmer are not running

Back: Pat Wilkens, Eric Walters, Cliff Wilson, Daniel Correll

Outlook: The Gators are bringing back a good core group of runners and Jones thinks his team can compete with Farmville Central and Rosewood in what he calls an "always competitive" league. "We will field a strong team," he said.

Spring Creek girls

Coach: Mike Jones, first season

Last season: Not reported

Gone: Kasey Rousay, Alicia Greip, Corina Rios, Sabrina Council, Troia Morgan all will not run

Back: Barbara Witherington

Outlook: The Gators are thin in numbers and face what Jones calls "an uphill climb" in facing off with the more experienced conference teams. Jones hopes to build a strong crop of runners this season.

Rosewood Girls

Coach: Anthony Nesbit, fifth season

Last season: 2-18

Gone: Shonda White and Valerie Hinson graduated; team MVP Monica Gonzalez, Caitlyn Poole and Ashley Martin are not running

Back: Emily Thronson, Sarah Poole

Outlook: Nesbit has two runners with a lot of experience, but from there "the learning curve is going to be steep." Four girls are out running as first-year runners, and three are freshmen, but all are out working hard every day. Nesbit sees the conference as wide open, especially with the graduation of Princeton's Summer Graham, who won every conference meet for the past three years.

Rosewood Boys

Coach: Anthony Nesbit, fifth season

Last season: 7-19

Gone: Bryce Havenook and Bobby Calcote have graduated

Back: Daniel Ellis, Michael Goff, Daniel Farrell

Outlook: The Eagles have little experience and have to make up for the loss of Havenook, an all-conference performer. The lone senior, Casey Elrod, is a first-year runner, and the most experienced athletes has two years of cross-country experience. But Ellis, Ferrell and Goff all made the regional field last year, and Nesbit likes the team's cohesiveness and enthusiasm. While he is making no conference-finish predictions, he noted that Farmville Central is usually strong.

Charles B. Aycock Boys

Coach: Derek Matthews, second season

Last season: 19-11, sixth at regional meet

Gone: Chris Bell is not running

Back: Michael Scott, David Williams, Alan Toler, Thomas Williamson, Tanner Jackson

Outlook: The Falcons lost just one runner from last season's young squad. Matthews said his team is very solid in the first seven positions and likes what he sees in the freshman class. "We should do well in conference, and with some luck, qualify for state," Matthews said.

Charles B. Aycock Girls

Coach: Sheila Covar, first season

Last season: fourth at regional meet

Gone: Six seniors, including Liza Davis and Edye Strickland

Back: Nida Waheed, Jasmine Dobbin, Duna Gylfadatter

Outlook: Cover inherits a young team that suffered heavy graduation losses. "It is hard to say at this time what our times will be like," said Covar. "But we have plenty of room to grow."

Greene Central Boys

Coach: Scott Jones, seventh season

Last season: 9-5, 9-3 in EPC

Gone: Chris Lane, Matt Lovett, Brian Sugg, Jordy Grady, Jamie Ham

Back: Lance Murray, Phillip Shelton, Joel Chamberlain, Tony Tyson, Cameron Taylor

Outlook: The Rams are developing into a power program, and this season should be no different. Four returners ran at the regional meet. The team should be competitive, but run into a familiar wall by facing state power South Lenoir in every conference meet.

Greene Central Girls

Coach: Scott Jones, seventh season

Last season: 12-2, 11-1 in EPC

Gone: Keri Chesson, Lauren Horton, Kelly Chesson, Jennifer Shealy

Back: Amber Oakes, Jessica Lovett, Ashley Oakes

Outlook: The Rams are as competitive as last season, with five runners that are able to run a quick pack. Jones wants to add a few more runners and likes the team's potential this season.

Princeton boys

Coach: Amanda Rowland, fourth season

Last season: Third place in conference

Gone: Jonathan Hinnant transferred to Rosewood

Back: Phillip Croom, Chris Langdon

Outlook: Princeton will be thin, with just four runners reported by press time. Rowland is searching for a possible fifth so Princeton can compete as a team, but said Croom and Langdon -- joined by newcomers Josh Holmes and Julius Beasley -- will compete as individuals this season.

Princeton girls

Coach: Amanda Rowland, fourth season

Last season: Conference champions, fourth in regional meet

Gone: Summer Graham, now running at Charlotte; Lisa Thompson

Back: Ashley Heath, Britney Stewart, Courtney Panley

Outlook: After losing a state runner-up in Graham and a solid, experienced competitor in Thompson, Rowland sees a rebuilding year ahead. But the girls have a lot of potential and winning a conference title again is not out of reach. Rowland sees North Johnson as the chief competition for conference honors.

Southern Wayne (boys and girls)

Coach: Lana Seveski, first season

Last season: Not reported

Gone: Not reported

Back: Not reported

Outlook: Saveski is rebuilding Saint teams that had few runners last season and has only recently begun to practice.

Wayne Country Day girls

Coach: Jewel Marlowe, second season

Last season: six girls made the field for the state championship meet

Gone: Carmen McCall graduated; Whitney Nagel, Candace Headen

Back: Mimi Bridgers, LaShanda Kates, Molly Peacock

Outlook: The girls team has a lot of youth and inexperience, but is headed up by the two returning runners. Bridgers, a senior, holds the school record and joined with Peacock to do a lot of off-season running. Marlowe said both girls are at their personal best times from last season already, and the new runners show a lot of heart and speed. "I am excited to see them grow, improve, and compete throughout the season," Marlowe said.

Teams not reporting -- North Johnston. North Lenoir, James Kenan, Goldsboro and North Duplin do not field cross-country teams. Wayne Country Day School is not fielding a boys team.