Avon and Plainfield high schools took runners to last season’s cross country state finals and each has the firepower to reach the state’s biggest stage once again. Several other county schools will be chasing the Orioles and Quakers and could have the talent to keep up stride for stride with the pair.
The Orioles dominated the county cross country scene last season with wins at the Plainfield relays, and second consecutive county, sectional and regional championships to show for their efforts.
Avon made a trip to the state finals for a second straight season and placed 11th, two spots better than the year before.
Expectations are high this season for the Orioles, despite losing six seniors from last year’s team.
One of the reasons for that is the quality of depth that Avon returns, including Malyka Abramson and Courtney Kerr.
Abramson set the school’s 5K record last season, breaking Lorna Whaley’s mark (18:18) with a time of 17:51. Both Abramson and Kerr made the all-Hoosier Crosssroads Conference, all-county, all-sectional, all-regional and all-semistate teams.
“Malyka and Courtney are very hard workers who buy into our training and they both set a great example for their teammates in much the same way that past leaders such as Jesse McNealy, Taylor Smith, Victoria Collins and Megan Price have done,” Avon coach Brad Rosebrock said.
Adding great depth and quality running to the rest of the varsity lineup are returners Kelsie Mothersead and Lauren Heeger. Junior Avery Lane and Alissa Lustgarten and sophomore Takayla Carlton also look to be in the varsity lineup.
Heeger and Kerr are the Orioles’ team captains this season. Seniors Maggi Paxton and Caroline Rodgers along junior Summer Jenkins are taking on other leadership roles within the squad.
Rosebrock said he has six girls running at a very high level right now, but has a bit of a gap between them and the seventh varsity spot.