NEW PALESTINE DRAGONS
Coach: Daniel Weimer, 10th season
2013: 3rd at Hancock County, 5th at Hoosier Heritage Conference, 5th at New Palestine Sectional, 5th at Rushville Regional, 14th at Carmel Semistate
Returning varsity runners
Chris Poturalski/12, Tyler Carrie/11, Riley Wilson/11, Aaron Kirklin/10, Drew Legan/10, Samuel Voelz/10
Next in line/newcomers: Brody Elliott/11, Clayton Fahrnow/11, Kyle Frank/11, Zach Lambdin/11, Wyatt Privette/11, Austin Sweet/11, Wyatt Hamilton/9, Ethan Westrate/9, Brock Wright/9
Outlook: Three Hancock County championships. Two Hoosier Heritage Conference titles. One State Finals appearance.
Seth Eagleson’s individual accomplishments – which also included a sectional and regional crown – were nothing short of extraordinary for a high school cross country runner, but they fail to portray the full picture of his exploits. As a senior, Eagleson was also intent on getting New Palestine to semistate as a team for the first time since 1998.
With a fifth-place finish at last season’s Rushville Regional, race winner Eagleson and the rest of scoring Dragons – Samuel Voelz (11th), Dominic Basciano (32nd), Riley Wilson (38th) and Chase Tuggle (64th) – made program history.
It’ll be an uphill climb for NP to repeat that feat in 2014 with the graduation of Eagleson, Basciano, Tuggle and Drew Gohmann, the team’s No. 5 finisher at semistate.
The returnees are headlined by Voelz, who turned in an impressive freshman season highlighted by a fourth-place finish at county and 10th-place showing at HHC.
“He’s just a sophomore and had a phenomenal freshman year,” said NP coach Dan Weimer of Voelz, was also 11th at regional and 17th at sectional. “He needs to continue to focus on being the best he can be and get better everyday.”
Weimer, who declined to name his top five runners, pointed to Voelz and junior Riley Wilson as the Dragons filling Eagleson’s leadership shoes. Wilson was NP’s No. 3 runner at HHC and fourth-place finisher at sectional, regional and semistate.
“In our program, they understand what it takes to be at their best. They understand everybody on our team needs to be a leader,” Weimer said. “Those two have great passion and work hard. Those are the two that have stepped up and become leaders.”
Other returnees with varsity experience are senior Chris Poturalski – who placed seventh in the 400 meters at the track State Finals last spring – junior Tyler Carrie and sophomores Aaron Kirklin and Drew Legan.
Further depth will be provided by six juniors – Brody Elliott, Clayton Fahrnow, Kyle Frank, Zach Lambdin, Wyatt Privette and Austin Sweet – that will “make some noise,” according to Weimer, plus freshmen Wyatt Hamilton, Ethan Westrate and Brock Wright.
“Our senior class was a great group and semistate was a big step for them. But we have a bunch of guys with experience like Tyler Carrie, Aaron Kirklin, Drew Legan and Chris Poturalski,” Weimer said. “All of those guys know what it means to wear the New Palestine cross country jersey. They know good things will come with hard work.”
New Palestine open its 2014 season by hosting its own invitational Aug. 19.