GREENFIELD — The Greenfield-Central girls cross-country team is looking to make history this season. With a combination of returning talent and fresh faces, the Cougars look to have the squad that qualifies for the semistate as a team for the first time in school history.

“We just sat down as a team and went over our goals,” Cougars coach Scott Burton said. “And these girls are laser-focused on being the first group of girls to qualify for semistate, and that’s an attainable goal for us this year.”

Leading the way is two-time reigning Hancock County champion, Sydney Cook, who will be a senior.

“Sydney’s focus is going to be going after the individual county championship for the third year in a row and pushing for a state finals berth,” Burton said.

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Also returning for the Cougars are senior Darian Gossett and juniors Sara Muckerheide and Lindsey Pope. Freshman Audrey Brinkruff is expected to push the Cougars to new heights this year as well.

In the team’s first race Monday night, Cook finished tenth and Brinkruff was 11th.

“Audrey was the eighth-grade county champ last year,” Burton said. “(Cook and Brinkruff) have been working well together at practice, so it will be interesting to see how they push each other as the year goes along.”

Marauders, Hartman looking for more

FORTVILLE — With top runners returning, a strong group of seniors, and young talent looking to expand their roles, the Mt. Vernon girls cross country team is looking to do big things.

Sophomore Rilee Hartman, who qualified for semistate as a freshman, in 2016, will be the Marauders top returner. But after Hartman, the Marauders’ lineup is wide-open.

“When you look at our results from last year, you will notice that beyond Rilee, the girls played a game of musical chairs between positions 2 through 7,” Marauders coach Kean Coy stated.

Looking to fill in behind Hartman will be sophomores Kamryn Easton and Ellie Salsbury, who are looking to use strong track seasons to propel them into strong cross country performances.

“Kamryn qualified for regional in track in a terrific season, and we are looking for that success to translate into cross-country,” Coy said. “Salsbury made a huge leap from cross-country to track last season and could potentially make another leap into cross-country this year.”

Senior Kassy Ramirez and junior Reagan Woodruff also look to contribute this season. Rounding out the varsity lineup will be seniors Hannah Watson and Andrea Watson.

“Kassy has already made a huge impact on the demeanor and work ethic of the team,” Coy said. “And Reagan has been the model of consistency.”

The Marauders have big goals, and they intend to work throughout the season to achieve them.

“I know for a fact that although we are not a deep team, we are loaded with talent,” Coy predicted. “Cross-country is all about timing; we have to find the right balance of training and rest with this group in order to give them every opportunity to advance well into the postseason.”