FRANKTON — Frankton sent a full boys cross country squad to a semistate meet for just the third time last fall.
The Eagles advanced with a fifth-place finish in the Delta regional, by five points, and went on to place 20th in Fort Wayne. They had a mix of experience and youth, with now-graduated seniors Dimitri Margaritidis, Will Thompson and Addison Lawrence.
"It was quite an accomplishment," Frankton coach Andre Lo said in an email. "While the main goal remains making it to semi-state, a bigger goal would be to place in the top 10 to 15 at semistate this season."
Frankton does have its No. 1 runner from last year back, senior Kyran Planalp. He ran 17 minutes, 24 seconds for 5,000 meters in the regional, and that would have advanced him to the semistate as an individual had the Eagles not made it as a team.
"Kyran has the potential to run 16:30 or faster," Lo said. "Due to a busy summer schedule, he does not have as big a base of miles as we would like but should still be challenging to be our No. 1 runner by the end of the season."
Lo said juniors Bradley Lawrence and Zach Davenport have been running the best over the summer. Both also participated in the postseason meets last year and were part of a 4x800-meter track relay team that set a school record this spring.
Senior James Huff is pegged as the No. 4 runner, Lo said. Huff sustained a knee injury during the third meet last year and was out five months, but he returned for the track season and ran a personal record in the 1,600.
The No. 5 spot is up for grabs, with juniors Christian Gerber and Dillon Hall, along with sophomores Gideon Hahn and Aden Swisher and freshman Kaleb Cage vying for that position.
Frankton's girls weren't as fortunate as their male counterparts in 2018, as the team fell short of a regional berth and had to settle for three individuals running in that meet at Delta.
"The girls plan on making up for that underwhelming (sectional) performance this season," Lo said. "The girls actually have goals of making it to semistate. This is a possibility, as we have a good group of returning girls and some promising newcomers."
Senior Kayla Quimby, one of the regional qualifiers, will again be the Eagles' No. 1 runner. She cut her PR in the 1,600 in track by 19 seconds to 5:52, and Lo said that confidence has carried over into her summer workouts.
Juniors Abby Hartley and Kiley Huff also made it out of the sectional last October, despite struggling at times during the season after solid freshman years, Lo said.
Of the other four girls, only senior Karissa Hall ran for the Eagles last year. Classmate Meadow Kerrigan, a solid track runner, is back in cross country after sitting out last season. Sophomore Caitlin Cole and freshman Emma Sheward round out the squad.
"Our summer has been a mixed bag," Lo said. "On one hand, we're working harder than we ever had, and we have had three to four runners who have really bought into running their miles.
"On the negative side, our juniors and seniors still need a bit too much prodding from the coaching staff to stay on task, and most of our underclassmen have had poor summers of training."
Frankton's squads will run all their meets at other schools. They open at Union's invitational Aug. 20 and have three meets at Pendleton Heights (Arabian Roundup on Aug. 28, Madison County on Sept. 24 and sectional on Oct. 12).