DuBOIS — While Jackson Browne had a hit in the 1970s with the song “Running On Empty,” the DuBois Area High School cross country team hopes it won’t be doing anything even close to that this season.
The Beavers lost their top three runners from last year — Lauren Usaitis and Julie Marchioni on the girls’ side and Peter Foradora on the boys’ — which also represented all of their state qualifiers, but still bring back almost all of their Top 10 runners on both sides.
“We basically brought back our No. 2 through No. 6 runners on the boys’ side from last year and No. 3 through No. 9 for the girls,” said DuBois coach Shawn Deemer said. “We’re bringing back a nice group that kind of push themselves in packs when they run.”
“Yeah, it’s hard that we’re missing some of those top runners from last year,” Deemer added. “But, I’m haven’t really talked about those runners because I’m not trying to have this group be like them. I want them to come out and make this their team and do what they do well. And, so far, they’ve been doing that.”
The Beavers list more than 40 runners on their roster this season and are fairly well spread throughout each class.
Senior Kaleb Stevens, who came up just short of a state-qualifying performance, appears to have worked his way to the top spot on the boys’ side, with both his times as well as leadership, along with fellow senior Noah Knarr. Seniors Natalie Sprague, Ally Andrulonis and Bayley Strouse have stepped up for the girls.
Juniors Ed Scott and Keith Fatula, along with sophomores Ryan Gildersleeve and Tucker Fenstermacher, have been doing well and are among those expected to be among the leaders on the boys’ team this year.
Strouse, along with juniors Emalee Horner — who also just missed qualifying for states — Kyra Hoover and Maddie Cable as well as sophomore Annie Wingard will likely be among the top runners for the Lady Beavers.
“That’s a nice core,” Deemer said. “Those guys kind of tend to push themselves a little bit more in packs.”
While Deemer, who enters his second season at the helm of the cross country squad, hasn’t made a lot of changes to the way he’s approached the season, he has adjusted his preseason regimen slightly this year.
“This team actually covered more miles in practice so far this season than last,” Deemer said. “Last year, I was trying to fill out practices with (some discussions), this year I’ve tried to get a few more miles on their legs.”
That may benefit some of the freshmen on the team as they make the jump from the shorter junior high course to the longer high school trail.
In fact, some have already shown that they’re well on their way including freshmen, Abby Dressler, AC Deemer and Ryan White.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes will be on the boys’ side where they’ll slide back to a more local district qualifier at the Class AA level instead of the last few years when the ran at the Class AAA meet.
“I think that will help the boys knowing the competition,” Deemer said. “Running against McDowell and some of the other Erie schools at a single invite didn’t allow the kids to get an idea of who they’d be running against at districts. Now, they’ll have a better chance to see the competition.”
DuBois will open the year as it heads to the Bear Mountain River Run in Lock Haven Saturday.
Seniors: Allyson Andrulonis, Andrea Bankovich, Cassandra Carnesali, Julia Faber, Victoria Gregory, Noah Knarr, Natalie Sprague, Trulee Stainbrook, Kaleb Stevens, Bayley Strouse.
Juniors: Madisan Cable, Keith Fatula, Gauge Gulvas, Kyra Hoover, Emalee Horner, Brady Johnson, Ashley Usaitis.
Sophomores: Morgan Allman, Rayna Fenstermacher, Tucker Fenstermacher, Ryan Gildersleeve, Ethan Knarr, Keagan McCleary, David Reitz, Isaac Wayne, Anna Wingard.
Freshmen: Mackenzie Crawford, Astacio Deemer, Abby Dressler, Trey Dwire, Zoie Enseki, Joseph Foradora, Kolton Gwizdala, Chase Hook, Lauren Hoover, Gannon Kearney, Isaac Krause, Matthew Mulhollan, Luke Sturrock, Ryan White.