With 13 freshmen on roster,
Stars have young faces for
the races in 2016 campaign
By Justin Sokeland
Bedford North Lawrence’s Trey Pemberton already looks the Teamfather part, rocking the senior beard and leading a pack of brats in his wake. Somebody made the freshman class an offer they couldn’t refuse.
BNL’s cross country program, down in numbers the last two years, has been bolstered by a remarkable and needed influx – 13 freshmen, the biggest class ever in Scott Hiles’ long tenure as head coach. Practice now resembles a thundering herd rather than the pitter-patter of a few feet.
“I think a coach in any sport will tell you things will be up, then they’ll be down,” Hiles said. “We’ve had some ferocious hot weather the last few years, and sometimes I’m surprised we can get any athletes in any sport to train every day in 90-degree heat. But I’m encouraged. The kids that came out this summer are still standing here, and that’s a good sign.”
They won’t stand for long. The Stars are on the move, with the few veterans they have at the front. Pemberton, a semistate qualifier last season after posting a career-best time in the regional race on his home course, will set the tone, and his younger brother Chance will be close behind.
After that, the newcomers will be vying for position.
“We have a lot to learn,” Hiles said. “They don’t have a clue yet, what it takes to beat a seasoned, mature, sturdy and rugged cross country opponent. But they will find out pretty quickly.”
If their talent is yet unknown, some of them certainly sound fast (Jet Melvin, certainly a great racing name) or come from running families (Kane Wever, Zane Zollman). They will be looking for leadership from Pemberton.
“We hope the other first-year kids can imitate the training, behavior and racing,” Hiles said. “I think that will happen.
“It’s too early to tell. If they commit to something every day to get stronger, they will have a lot of control over whether they’ll be excellent. They just have to put the time in.”
BNL will debut in its own Invitational on Monday.