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Cross Country: Rowan County Preview

By Ronnie Gallagher
Rick Roseman has coached many talented cross country teams in his two decades at East Rowan. This year, he says the Mustangs will be as experienced as any of them as they prepare for Tuesday’s pre-county meet at Dan Nicholas Park.
“We’re excited about the season,” he said. “We should be very competitive. They’ve been working all summer on their own and they went to camp.”
Roseman hasn’t forgotten South Rowan, the defending county champ, coached by Bob Marchinko. He is very impressed with the Raiders. South edged East in the 2007 county meet by four points.
Marchinko is a runner himself and has turned the Raiders into a state contender.
“When he gets kids to do what he does, they’ll be great,” Roseman said. “He knows what he’s doing and he does a great job with those kids.”
With a laugh, Roseman added, “I wish Marchinko had another year of eligibility so he could run for us.”
South may be the defending champ, but Marchinko really likes Roseman’s team.
“On paper, East has to be the favorite,” he said. “They’ve got some all-county runners back and two good freshmen coming in.”
Marchinko also expects Carson to be a very good team. He should know. The runners from South and Carson share the same roads when they work out.
The girls favorite is Salisbury.
“We hope to do well this season with four of the top five runners returning,” said coach Trella McLean.
A look at the teams:
Roseman returns five of his top seven runners: Coleton Boone, Eli Walton, Justin Holshouser, Ross Oden and Jay Michael Shuping.
Juniors Hunter Arey and Bryson Stoner are running well. Brad Oden and Cole Honeycutt are impressive freshmen.
– Ten girls will run for East, led by returning all-county Taylor Arey. Kristin Hatley, Jenny Hughes and Emily Graczyk will also have an impact.
SOUTH ROWANThis is a rebuilding year in Landis as Marchinko, in his third season as head coach, lost his 1-2 punch of Philip Tilley and Blake Overcash.
He does return junior Dalton Johnson and sophomore Tyler Kowalczyk, both all-county performers. Michael York, a sophomore, is another standout among the 14 team members.
“We have a chance to be a good team,” Marchinko said.
– The Raier girls lost Olivia Jacobs, a four-year star.
“She’s a tough one to replace,” Marchinko said. “She has been All-World for a while.”
The cupboard isn’t bare. Senior Erica Ashley and junior Emily Kinney are returning all-county performers.
SALISBURYLast year, the Hornet girls placed first in the county, second in the Central Carolina Conference, second in the 2A regional and 10th in the state.
McLean has two seniors, captain Laurel Loeblein and Katelyn Horning. A member of the national speed-skating team, Horning won’t join the team until Sept. 6.
Three sophomores add to the talent: Emily and Katherine Shields and Margaret Kaufman.
McLean also has a new face that she expects success from: transfer Jenna Bryan, who moves in from Chattanooga, Tn. McLean said Bryan will “definitely be in the top five from her preseason performance.”
– The boys will be led by Philip Tonseth and Forrest Buchanan.
The Falcons have a new boys coach in Ricky Jelen.
He returns Dillon Kluttz, who is the team captain. Junior Ricky Meek should compete for all-county honors.
– Kent Houghton welcomes his top three runners back in Leslie Pence, a sophomore, Taylor Bryan, a senior, and Leighanna Watson, a sophomore.
Brenna Patterson and Claire Kistler are back.
CARSONDwayne Fink returns two experienced runners in Ethan Horne and Nick Golden. Both are juniors.
Golden was all-county last year. Horne was one of the team’s top runners two seasons ago but missed last year due to a stress fracture.
“It’s nice to have both healthy this year,” said Fink. “They can train together.”
Matt Price admits he has trouble getting runners out. So far, he has just three: Augustine Wiggins, Taylor Johnston and Mason Jennings.
There is no girls team.

NOTE: Tuesday’s pre-county meet begins with the boys race at 5 p.m. The girls will start around 5:45.


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