Skyline crosscountry head coach Lynette Freeman heads into her second season full of optimism. Five seniors graduated from her league-champion, state-qualifying girls team, but Freeman feels there are enough quality T-Birds returning along with some key additions that will allow both her girls and boys to have good seasons this year.
On the boys’ side, the only varsity returner is Roman Ibarra, but he’s a good one. Ibarra was a frequent medalist last year and was the top freshman boy finisher at the 2A state meet last fall.
He will be joined on the varsity this year by a group that ran JV most of last season: Colin Kumberg, Lucas Cason and Khaleb Cason. Coach Freeman is expecting a lot out of that trio, especially the Casons who “ran a lot over the summer,” according to Freeman.
Junior Josh Moore moves over from the football team this year and looks to be challenging for a varsity spot as well.
There is a quintet of freshmen out, some of whom Freeman expects could impact the varsity roster by year’s end. They include Jarid Shriver, Jarod DeWeese, Garrett Bell, Kendall Davidson and Tony Ibarra. Ibarra especially could make a quick jump to the varsity. “He’s been just right behind his brother Roman in practice so far,” Freeman noted.
On the girls’ side, standout Brooke Fisher returns for her senior campaign, hopefully free of the nagging injuries that slowed her most of last season. Abby Giles is the other returner from last years’ successful varsity squad.
Briana Neifert and Miranda Ghumm will take a couple of the vacant varsity slots. Kadi Richardson and Janessa Corbet are expected to take roles as well.
With full boys and girls varsity teams this year, the Thunderbird harriers are aiming to win league and qualify for state with both.
Things are going exceptionally well so far this season, from the coach’s perspective. “It’s going good,” Freeman said. “We’ve had no drama, no blow-ups even though it’s a co-ed sport. Everyone gets along great, they treat each other like brothers and sisters.”
Along with assistance from Holly VanSkike, Freeman is overseeing the development of 18 high schoolers and 3 middle schoolers. Tyler Tobin, Erik Ghumm and Adison Hampton are the first middle schoolers to compete in crosscountry in Skyline history. Freeman expects the number of T-Bird middlers to grow in future seasons.
“Right now, we’re a big happy family,” Freeman concluded. “We have kids new to the sport this year, middle school kids, experienced veterans…We even have one kid coming in from Cunningham this year. But everyone is getting along, All are working together to make this a great year.”
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