|2011 CROSS COUNTRY PREVIEW...
Both the boys and girls cross country teams have the potential to macth - and maybe even top - the performance of a year ago.
It was an historic season for coach Josh Long and the Covington boys cross country team a year ago as the Buccs won a league championship and went of to finish 14th in the state meet.
Gone from one of the best teams in school history are Willy Hoffert, Brandon Flora, Zach Shilt, Brian Hackett, Harry Hicks and Kody Spade - six runners who provided the leadership needed to reach Columbus.
But Covington has the talent to make a return trip with the return of juniors Dale Brant, Bryant Hicks, Dustin Fickert, Jake Sowers and Isaac Canan. Also returning are sophomores Lane White, Riley VanHise and Nick Tobias.
Fickert and White both finished in the low to mid-seventeens on a regular basis a year ago, while Sowers consistently ran in the mid-eighteens. Finding runners who will break the 17:00 mark on a consistent basis, a time Hoffert performed at last year, will be the key to Covington's success in 2011.
Covington ads five freshman to the group in Matt Carder, Nathan Dunn, Alex Schilling, Jared Hagen and Jacob Keiser. Carder on a league championship last year as an eighth grader, while Schilling finished fourth.
Coach Libby Long and the Covington girls team also had a big season a year ago, claiming a CCC Championship and placing seventh in the regional meet.
The Lady Buccs must replace three outstanding runners who were lost to graduation; Emily Fields, Kayla Fissel and Carrie Spurgeon.
This will be made easier with the return of junior standout and leading runner Tara Snipes, who placed second at the league meet last season.
Seniors Julianna Simon and Jessie Shilt also return as well as juniors Brittany Diltz, Cassie Yingst, Kayleigh Cecil and sophomore Hannah Retz and Haley Adams.
Junior Heidi Snipes returns to the course after playing volleyball last year, while sophomore Sarah Ray picks up the sport.
A strong freshman duo consisting of Heidi Cron and Cassidy Cain join the team after leading the junior high squad to a conference title a year ago.
In all, Covington won conference titles in high school boys, high school girls and junior high girls, while the boys junior high team had the top runner in Matt Carder.
With the talent that returns and the newcomers on the roster, Covington cross country has the potential to be even more potent this year.