A seasoned runner for 41 years, Lake cross country coach Ken Mysinger is a man who competed in running events while serving for the United States Air Force in such as places Hellenikon AB in Athens, Greece in the late 1970s.
Mysinger started a running “breakfast club” that gets his athletes up early in the morning and on area roads. Now in his second season mentoring the boys and girls cross country teams at Lake, the coach hopes his strategy is paying off.
Mysinger says this year’s men’s team will be led by senior co-captains Zack Powell and Louis Szilagyi. Szilagyi was a regional qualifier in cross-country and all-league runner in 2008, as well as a regional qualifier in the 1,600 meter run during the 2009 track season. Powell was the Suburban Lakes League 1,600 champion and regional qualifier during the past track season.
Other returning lettermen include sophomores Nathan Scanlan, who was honorable mention all-league in cross-country a season ago, and teammate Riley Breese. Newcomers include junior Steve Stanley, sophomore Nathan Adkins, and freshmen Tyler Coutcher, Drew Northcut, and Trevor Walsh.
“We had eight male runners last season and lost four. We have added a couple new faces and three freshmen but our core group remains,” Mysinger said. “All of these young men have been great to work with, and with Zack and Louis’s leadership, they have worked very hard this summer in preparation for the 2009 season.
“The team’s success will hinge on continuous improvement and finding a consistent performer in the fifth through seventh spots,” Mysinger added.
The Lake Lady Flyers cross-country team has five individuals who earned a varsity letter during the 2009 season. The Flyers are led by sophomores Hunter Johnson, honorable mention all-league as a freshman last season, Hailee Greenlese, and Caitlin Stickler.
“Senior captains Jessica Albright and junior Stormi Roelle, along with the other returnees and newcomers should help lead an improving team,” Mysinger said.
Other members of this year’s squad includes juniors Destiny Coutcher, Angela McGeorge, Alex Momany, and freshmen, Samantha Curavo, Brooke Davies, Kandie King, Merrishia Lands, Angela Santana, and Amber Soncrant.
“Last season we had a full team for the first time in years with six runners,” Mysinger said. “This year we have 14 girls on the team and I can tell by the work they put in this summer, and especially at camp, that they are hungry to do well.
“It has been fun to watch them put the time in to improve while having a good time encouraging each other and enjoying running with each other. Success will hinge on consistent effort in training and some of the new runners pushing the more seasoned runners throughout the season while running as a team.”