The Zionsville girls cross country team is coming off their two most successful seasons in school history.
After the Eagles won the state title in 2017, they finished as runner-up last year. As they get ready to start the 2019 season, the Eagles have high goals, with a veteran group that has been right at the heart of those two successful teams.
“We have had 11 weeks now of summer training and that has gone really well,” Zionsville head coach Suzanne Rigg said. “I really feel like the girls have taken that next step. We have increased our mileage just a little bit, and I think they are in a good spot. I am really pleased so far.”
The Eagles return eight of the nine girls that ran in a post-season race a season ago, including six of the seven that ran at the State Finals.
Five of those runners are seniors, and Rigg said that the girls understand what they need to do to reach their goals.
“We graduated Brooke Meredith, but we are getting everyone else back,” Rigg said. “We are excited to have the opportunity to race. The seniors are really looking forward to making this their final hurrah so to speak.”
Katelyn Wasson returns for her senior year after making all-state each of her first three years at the State Finals. She was also the state runner-up in the 3,200-meter run last spring.
Anna Settle and Margaret Allen are back as four-year varsity runners, as is Lauren Rinehart, who is in her second year at Zionsville after transferring before last school year.
“Every year, these girls have wanted to make the most of their opportunity,” Rigg said. “We have had various girls come in and out, but this current senior group has been a mainstay. It has been a really good three years so far from that group and they have big goals for this year. They all have such different strengths, they work really hard and are ready to go.”
The team will start their season on Saturday at the Zionsville Invite, which will be held this year at Northview Christian Church in Carmel.
Rigg said this group knows how to handle the early part of the schedule to make sure they are ready to go come the post-season.
“We talk about it with all the girls, varsity and JV, we want to have our last race be out best one, whenever it is,” Rigg said. “We are aiming all of our training through that. Sometimes during heavy training you may not get the early wins you want to, but at the end of the day, they are going to remember the main goal they are going for.”
Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Zionsville Times Sentinel and Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.