Doug Hughes will begin his 12th year as the head coach of cross country at Whiteoak High School this year.
In 2014, the Lady ‘Cats were the runner-ups in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference and the boys did not have enough participants to field a team. This year the girls are back with six total runners (two seniors, three juniors and a freshman) and the boys will have enough for a team with eight total boys, albeit young ones (one junior and seven freshman).
The girls return Morgan Thompson, who is a two-time All-SHAC and one time All-District runner. She should be the front runner on the girls team and provide leadership. Coach Hughes also looks forward to Ashleigh Harless having an excellent season as she was All-SHAC last year and put in a lot of time and miles in over the summer to make herself an even better runner.
Hughes also knows that his team will have some hefty competition along the way, especially in its own league.
“Our league is the strongest small school league in the entire southeast district,” Hughes said about his girls team’s competition this season. “Manchester, West Union, Eastern Brown will be very good again this year.”
For the boys, coach Hughes knows that they are very young and many are inexperienced, but he he is looking forward to the season.
“This group of boys is young and we will look to work our way up during the season,” Hughes said. “We hope to be in peak form when league rolls around and then continue that into districts.”
Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext. 1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.