STANTON — Even though Central Montcalm’s cross country teams finished towards the bottom of the Central State Activities Association, Coach Shad Morgan had some difficulties to deal with.
Those may have had a hand in the fifth-place finish of the boy Green Hornets in the CSAA and the seventh-place finish by the girls.
Yet Morgan didn’t think it was too bad of a year.
“Fairly happy with it,” he said of the season. “There were a couple things I wasn’t happy with.”
The boys lost a couple of key runners, Morgan noted.
“Cody Veltkamp and Preston Giles were two runners that I thought would be good runners and got injured,” he said. “There were one or two kids that turned ankles, and that may be something I may have to take a look at.”
Still, “We had kids that ran good times and improved dramatically,” Morgan noted.
Morgan didn’t have that same problem with his girls.
“The girls stayed healthy, but the girls times didn’t drop as dramatically as I hoped for,” he said. “Pretty happy with the effort throughout the season.”
Central had one runner make it to the state finals. That was Tyler Sleet, who ended up 46th overall in Division 3 with a 16:49.6 clocking.
But there were other boys who stepped up this season, according to Morgan.
“Jeremy Palinkas for sure,” he said. “In the beginning he went from ‘I didn’t know if he was going to be a varsity runner’ to running in the 19s. He was a great surprise.
“Julian Baldwin continues to improve. He will make a big impact on the team next year.”
A couple of girl’s performances caught Morgan’s eye also.
“Kaila Koston had dramatic improvements in her race times,” he said. “Scylar Blaisdell was pretty consistent. She was our best runner. Her times dropped dramatically and she was at times our best runner throughout the season.”
How much the Hornets improve next season is going to depend on the individual runners, Morgan said.
“They can be as good as they want to be,” he said. “One of the unique things about running is if you want to be fast you need to run more. It depends on how much the kids run both during track and the offseason.”