The members of the Blue Earth Area boys and girls cross country teams will be associated with a "foreign proverb" this year. Each athlete is a unique statement that has a particular gift to give to the team.
"We have a lot of kids who have a lot of different talents in different areas," said coach Tom Plocker. "It will be a fun year with some experienced runners and a mix of newcomers."
The veteran coach is returning for his 26th season and is looking to continue "the growth" emphasized last season. Two other Buc alums will be sharing assistant coaching duties: Stacie Hassing and Dan Ristau. New middle school teacher and BEA grad Bjorn Olson will also help out.
The boys Blue Earth Area cross country team includes, front row, left to right, Gunnar Fering, Bobby Lindsey, Sam Welker and Eric Becker. Middle row: John Lindsey, Adam Buseman, Jack Nimz, Jordan Stelter, Seth Becker and Jaxx Jacobsen. Back row: Gabe Jacobsen, Johnathan Cole, Alex Benson, Mike Ankeny, Zach Vaske, Isaac Miranda, Nick Shure, Kyle Mercer and Ben Gettis.
On Aug. 12, the squads started practicing gearing up for their season opener at Fairmont High School that took place Friday, Aug. 23.
Sophomore, Taylor Grandgenett returns as the top runner for BEA. She qualified for the state meet by placing 13th at the Section Championship last season.
The girls will be led by senior captains Anna Aukes, Alexis Brooks and Jenna Stevermer. Aukes and Stevermer were named Most Improved for the 2012 season.
Veterans returning who ran in last year's Section meet include juniors Signe Olson, Athena Peterson and Autumn Foster. Promising newcomers to the team this year are seniors Zoe Thompson, sophomores Jasmine Garcia and Jalyssa Wilson, freshmen Brooke Frandle and Mariah Halverson, eighth grader Marie Jacobsen and seventh graders Lizbeth Fernando, Amanda Jacobson, Hayley Jahnke, Arianna Nagel, Callie Stevermer and Gabby Weerts.
Junior Mike Ankeny is the top returning runner for the boys squad. He earned All-Conference honors for the Bucs in 2012. Senior captain and 2012 Most Improved Kyle Mercer will be a team leader. Senior Isaac Miranda will also be a force, as he concluded last season with a top 25 percent finish at the Section meet. Other Section returners are sophomore Zach Vaske (another Most Improved from last year) and freshman Seth Becker.
Other veterans looking to have an impact include junior Nick Shure, who is currently recovering from a track injury and sophomores Adam Buseman (returning from a leg injury that sidelined him much of last season), John Lindsey and Jack Nimz.
There are several newcomers that will be vying for spots on the varsity roster including: senior Ben Gettis, junior Alex Benson, sophomores Jaxx Jacobsen and Jordan Stelter, freshman Gabe Jacobsen and eighth grader Bobby Lindsey. Rookie seventh grade runners include: Carson Anderson, Eric Becker and Gunnar Fering.
BEA will be hosting two meets this season; The South Central Conference Championship will be Tuesday, Oct. 8 and the Buc Invite will be the following Tuesday, Oct. 15. Both will be held at Riverside Town and Country Club.