DL Girls Cross-Country Preview
Experience will be a strength for the Detroit Lakes girls' cross country team, as they return a nice amount of runners with up to three years of varsity experience.
But the challenge of DL head coach John Freeman will be to instill some fire inside his runners to push each other to make each better.
"Sometimes, the girls will settle in their role and not want to upset the cart because they are afraid to step on each others' toes," Freeman said. "I want to find that healthy competition on the team, so that they push each other.
"I don't want them to start feeling complacent of where they are in the lineup."
The Lakers already have to deal with the injury bug, after losing senior Kiki Schumacher for over half the season due to a broken foot she suffered in the summer.
"That's a big blow since she was our number one runner at the start of the season last year and she is a big leader on the team," Freeman said.
Senior Veronica Haverkamp enters the season as a three-year starter on varsity and Freeman wants to "see that next step" by the Laker upperclassman.
Sophomores Abby Ullyott and Mackenzie Foltz each return with some loftier expectations.
"Abby has been dealing with some aches and pains, yet, and Mackenzie works as hard as anyone," the DL coach said.
The Lakers won't be a team of superstars, but instead of runners with a hard work ethic and talents comparable to each other.
Now, Freeman is just looking for a few to step up and lead the team.
"We have a bunch of solid, everyday workhorses," he said. "For me, it's going to be a hold your breath type of season, because there are plenty of unknowns. It could go either way."
Junior Annie Holzgrove also returns to supply some experience, along with Jena Jasken, Emily Zok, Lauren Lies and Rachel Wentz.
A couple of new additions who could factor into the season include senior Karli Kerzman and freshman Haley Groth.
"Karli brings some good leadership qualities, but we have to watch her knees," Freeman said. "But so far, she has been doing well in practices. Haley has been a good surprise for us. She has been appearing at the front of the pack everyday, so she has done everything we've asked of her."
The Lakers open the season Monday in Moorhead, starting at 10 a.m.
The lone home meet will be Thursday, Sept. 6, at the Lakeview Golf Course, starting at 4:30 p.m.
(Follow Brian Wierima on Twitter at DLSportsGuy.)
The Detroit Lakes 2012 boys' cross country schedule:
27 at Moorhead
6 Detroit Lakes Invite at DCC
13 at Little Falls
22 at Milaca
27 at Fergus Falls
4 at Perham
11 at Wadena-Deer Creek
15 at Park Rapids
25 at Bemidji