Gabe Jaramillo starts his second year as head coach of the Pettisville cross country program by welcoming back 10 letterwinners on the girls team and one on the boys team.
Jaramillo had been an assistant coach at the school for four years prior to taking over the head coaching job last year.
The girls team won its sixth straight Buckeye Border Conference championship last year, and expects to compete for the title again this year.
The Birds finished as district runner-up and 11th at the regional meet last year.
Returning letterwinners are seniors Kate Stuber, Kelly Miller, Sarah Foor, and Ava Hoylman; juniors Ellie Wixom, Grace Schnitkey, Madeline Shumaker, Mayzie Clark, and Anna Hudspeath; and sophomore Clara Damman.
“Experience and numbers will yet again be a major aspect of the team this year,” said Jaramillo. “We have a great group of senior leaders.”
As far as weaknesses, “Youth. Although it is a positive in the long term, some freshmen will inevitably have to step up and play an important role on the team,” said Jaramillo.
“We have a very solid core group of experienced and talented runners. The team is looking forward to producing yet again another competitive season in all the meets we compete in.
“The leadership we contain on this team is very strong, both expressed verbally and physically on the course. I am excited to see this team progress as the season unfolds.”
The boys team finished third in the BBC last year, third at the district meet, and 14th at regionals.
Only one letterwinner returns: Josh Basselman.
While youth is a strength, inexperience and lack of numbers are a weakness for the PHS boys.
“We’re hoping to gain some experience and have some good personal performances,” said Jaramillo. “With only three members, the team will focus on individual goals.
“I am looking forward to seeing the progress the boys can make throughout the season and how much they can grow through the rigors of a competitive season.”
Pettisville is scheduled to open its season, Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Defiance Early Bird Invitational.