For the first time in 16 years, Wyomissing Area High School Cross Country head coach Tim
Hetrich uttered the words "rebuilding year." In the past, the Spartans have been competitive in the cross country arena by sending a number of athletes to states and winning the girls' state championship in 2002.
The team, that competes in Division II and District III-AA, lost at total of 15 runners including graduates and state competitors Nicolette Miller and Victoria Pottieger. "It is devastating," said Hetrich about losing a drastic amount of athletes.
Last year the girls finished 14-1 and the boys 10-5. The girls finished third and boys eighth in counties. "Last year was the first time we didn't get as far," said the coach.
In past years, Hetrich's goal for his boys' team was to win their division, counties, districts and place in the top three at states. But with losing 13 runners, Hetrich who has been with the team for 20 years, is expecting his squad to be at least.500 this season. The coach said it is now up to his team to "step it up" and take over. "Everyone is expecting us not to be as good, so we are going to be better than they anticipate," said boys' captain Jake Fromm. "Our top five guys are still strong," added captain Cary Politzer.
Hetrich expects his girls to win the division, place in the top two at districts and top seven at states, if they stay healthy.
"Losing Nicolette Miller and Victoria Pottieger was rough, but there are runners who are stepping up," said captain Katherine Harvey.
Key returning female athletes on the squad of 22 are Katherine Harvey (senior/captain), Noel Geraci (junior/captain), Kirsten Polins (senior/captain), Alexa Bickhart (sophomore), Casey Fromm (junior), Natalie Sergi (junior) and Erika Rist (junior).
New up and coming runners include Christina Cesarz (freshman), Brennan Moyer (freshman) and Kara Noon (sophomore).
"The girls are deep and we have a lot of good girls," said Hetrich.
Key returning male athletes on the squad of 16 are Cary Politzer (senior/captain), Jake Fromm (senior/captain), Blaine Feinaur (senior/captain), Ryan Anthony (senior), Drew Pottieger (junior), Kyle Griffith (junior), Elisha Gaylor (junior) and Creighton Bieber (sophomore).
New up and coming runners include Austin Koppenhaver (freshman), Clint Arriola (freshman) and Dylan Anthony (freshman).
Although it may be a rebuilding year for the 2008 cross country team, head coach Hetrich and his squad are approaching a milestone, Hetrich's 400th win with Wyomissing. As of Aug. 29, Hetrich has 389 wins.