As the Newcastle boys cross country team enters the new season, head coach Nikki Gayler is looking at a roster with no senior runners, but despite the lack of upperclassmen, coach Gayler believes the pieces are there to have a great year.
“We have no seniors returning but two standout juniors in Steven Whitmore and Collin Seely. Our freshman class is loaded with talent, and several will be on varsity immediately and making a difference for us. They are young but competitive and I am excited to see them compete this year,” said coach Gayler.
Steven Whitmore is one of those talented juniors hitting the trail again this season. Whitmore has worked hard in the offseason to become a mainstay for Newcastle.
“Steven has put in the miles this year; I often use him as an example of someone who actually loves running. He’s put in work at different altitudes while on vacation, has stepped up to be a leader and has goals that he is going to surpass,” said coach Gayler.
Incoming freshman Colton Clark can be a difference maker this season according to coach Gayler.
“Colton will be a difference maker on our varsity team. He has put in work this summer and even attended SWMO running camp. He’s a hard worker and leads by example.”
Jude Kersh is another underclassman who is looking to make a run at the varsity lineup.
“Jude is a freshman that will compete at the varsity level and expect great things from him. He is a vocal leader who attended SWMO running camp this summer. He’s a hard worker that is going to make a mark on our program,” said coach Gayler.
The freshman takeover continues with Jason Johnson coming in and looking to shore up a spot this season.
“Jason is another freshman that will impact our varsity team; he is a multi-sport athlete that will be juggling football with cross country. He is also having knee surgery in the next few days, and this is not expected to keep him out for too long. Look for him late September, early October to start making his move,” said Gayler.
Other team members to watch include Collin Seely (Jr.), Blake Moslander (Fr.), Cole Albertson (Fr.), Gage Bell (So.), Mason Dobbs (So.), and Gavin Holt (Fr.).