If the Carroll (Fort Wayne) boys' cross country team is to have a breakout season 2012 could be their year. After finishing 9th in 2011 the Chargers return all seven member of that team led by a quartet of seniors. Alex Hess is the team's top finisher at state with a 17th place finish and has the top returning time for 5K of 15:56.30. After eleven of the top fifteen graduated, Hess has a great shot in being one of the top individuals come late October. Close by is fellow senior Jon Harper.with a season best of 16:03.97. Harper had an excellent track season as well running a 4:17.32 1600 meters at the Pike Invitational. The two other seniors are Eric Claxton and Kyle Harper. Coach Zach Raber says the foursome has a lot of confidence going into the season and that Harper, Hess, and Gater all have experience in championship meets having runn with James Martin and Brad Hess. He add that the group know what winning is all about and know the importance of hardwork and dedication.
Rounding out the top seven is a pair of juniors and an incoming freshman. Alex Kreilach, Mitchell Slater, and Cameron Clements will all fight it out for the final roster spots. Clements as well as Ben Schwartz are to welcomed additions to the squad and are coming off great middle school careers and summer training sessions. Clements has been in the top seven at most of the Chargers practices and in the team's first two meets and Coach Raber has high expectations for him in the years to come.
This season Carroll is off to a great start having won both it's early season meets. They edged out Warsaw 38-52 to win the Huntington North Invitational. Jon Harper came away with the individual win in a new personal best time of 15:44.90. The Chargers placed all seven runners in the top sixteen. If that wasn't impressive enough the junior varsity tore it up as well. Thirty-two runners competed in the JV race and once again Carroll edged out Warson to win the team title led by Bret Unger. For the second meet of the season at the Dekalb Classic, it was the same result with another individual win for Harper (15:54.66) and another first place finish for the team with 36 points. Seven runners were in the top thirteen and the team average was 16:32. Pretty impressive for the first two weeks of the season.
One problem Coach Raber doesn't have is depth. Forty-seven boys make up the Chargers roster. Raber believes that 20 of them can run under 18:00 and possibly twelve under 17:00. He says that this year is a soid squad and that the team is willing to do the little things to try and come away with a ring at the state championship. The team will improve on it's ninth place finish from last year, and possibly crack the top five, but a state title will be hard with the likes of Carmel and Valpo standing in their way.
Coach Raber Says...
"The team looks great so far. They put in a great summer with some solid mileage and distance work. Up to this point in August, we’ve had some great mile repeat workouts and our tempo runs have been very consistent."
"This season we’ve changed our schedule around a great deal. Our primary mid-season meet this year will be the Flashrock Invitational. We’ve never been to the meet before, always opting for New Prairie, so we’re excited about the level of competition we’ll see there. Other than that meet, our primary focus will be the state tournament. We’ll train through everything else and focus our taper on the state meet."
2012 Returner's Top Times
|Carroll Jr/Sr High School||393|
|1) Alex Hess||15:56.30||23|
|2) Jon Harper||16:03.90||39|
|3) Eric Claxton||16:28.40||86|
|4) Kyle Gater||16:35.60||117|
|5) Alec Kreilach||16:38.00||128|
|Average Time: 16:20.44 -- Total Time: 1:21:42.20 -- 1-5 Split: 41.70|
|6) Bret Unger||17:04.00||235|
|7) Mitchell Slater||17:04.60||239|
Boys 3200 Meter Run
|10:02.70||Kreilach, Alec||IHSAA Boys North Side Sectional||
|10:03.68||Hess, Alex||Lime City Relays||
Boys 1600 Meter Run
|4:17.32||Harper, Jon||Pike Invitational||
|4:24.12||Claxton, Eric||Pike Invitational||
|4:38.94||Gater, Kyle||Lime City Relays||