Inexperienced Cross Country team begins with 3-2 start under new head coach

There is a new face leading the youthful Cross Country team.

Jay Schrotzberger, assistant coach for the last two years, has taken over as head cross country coach. In his first year, he has been given the challenge of coaching a skilled, yet inexperienced team.

Compared to last season, Schrotzberger would describe his team as young and growing. Last season, the boys placed first in district and seventh in state with a strong senior contingent. The girls also did well, placing third in district and sending two runners to state.

Only two of the nine runners that participated in state last year are returning this season: Connor Cushman, junior, and Ella Clow, senior.

Despite having a young team, Schrotzberger is still confident in the group he is working with.

“We do have a young team,” Schrotzberger said. “But we have a lot of freshmen that are really good.” He said that the team still has veteran leadership from runners like captains Clow, Leah Henningsen, junior, Braden Krellwitz, senior, and Tyler Griffin, junior, as well as key athletes Cushman and Rebecca Donnelly, junior.

Schrotzberger hopes to send a few individuals to state, but would need a big break to advance a team to state. His goal for the team is for all four of its groups, Boys JV and Varsity, Girls JV and Varsity to place at least fourth in district.

The team won its last dual meet Sept. 28 at Fernhill Park, conquering teams like Central Catholic, Jesuit, Lake Oswego and Saint Mary’s Academy. After five meets the team is 3-2.

Schrotzberger said that his team is great to work with and is competing hard, with both veterans and newcomers giving it their all. Despite the lack of experience on the team, he said that they can all achieve his goal of success in district.