Jackson Heights Cross Country Preview 2018
Jackson Heights High School’s girls cross-country team is looking to repeat as Northeast Kansas League champions after a strong finish at regional and state competition, while the Cobra cross-country boys will be out to prove their mettle in the 2018 season, according to cross-country head coach Brad Alley.
“We feel like we have some good runners, but we have a long way to go before we are going to be able to achieve some season goals,” said Alley, who is in his fourth year of coaching the Cobra cross-country teams, along with assistant coach Gary Keehn.
So far, 17 JHHS students are out for cross-country this year, including senior Faith Little, who’s looking to repeat her first-place finish at last year’s league meet and make her fourth-straight trip to the state meet at Wamego — and return from that meet with a state title.
“Faith is healthy and had a great summer,” Alley said. “I don’t doubt Faith’s ability, and she certainly has a winner’s mentality.”
Little, Shelby Phillips and Hanna Davault anchored last year’s Cobra girls team, respectively finishing first, second and third individually to nail down the NEK League title and qualify for regional competition. Their third-place finish at regionals, led by an eighth-place individual finish from Little, also led to a team trip to state.
Davault, however, graduated from JHHS last spring, and Alley said her absence is being felt by this year’s team.
“She was a tremendous leader,” he said of Davault. “It will be important for someone to fill her shoes.”
On the other hand, Phillips will be returning as a sophomore and preparing for her second trip to the state meet.
“Shelby should be set for another big year,” Alley said. “She will be one of our top runners.”
Ditto senior Trinity McMahon, whom Alley said has “shown leadership qualities” for this year’s team.
On the boys’ side, Alley looks for the team to do well at the NEK League meet, where they finished second last year, and go even further despite losing a top-notch runner in Dalton Chartier, as well as JHHS graduates Xavier Fritz and Jason Parker.
“They will be difficult to replace,” Alley said of last year’s senior trio. “But I look for Kolten Brenner (senior) and Drew Holliday (junior) to be big leaders for our boys this year.”
Alley also noted that he’s excited for some new runners making their way up the line, including freshmen Annie Allen and Daniel Little.
“Annie and Daniel should have good years if they make the effort necessary to be successful during practice,” he said. “Up to this point, their efforts have been noticeable.”
Alley also sees perennial NEK League favorite Pleasant Ridge as the Cobra teams’ biggest competition this year.
“They have dominated the meets, up to our girls’ league title last year,” he said. “They are the target for all the league schools. McLouth and Jefferson County North should have nice teams as well.”
The Cobras’ first meet of the year will be held Thursday, Sept. 6 at Holton.