West Delaware’s 2019 boys cross country team: front from left, Blake Smith, Evan Woods, Jesse Thurn, Kasey Fisher, Nolan Mensen, Carson Less, Reily Dolan, Tyger Vaske, Andrew Salas, Ethan Hoefer, Landon Powers and Brady Moulds; back row, Nathan Goranson, Zach Stratton, Matt Mensen, Bentley Fletcher, Cruz Timmerman, PJ Recker, Blake Cook, Jacob Wenger, Nicholas Stocks, Grant Menard, Jacob Butler and Conner Turnis.

With nine returning lettermen and six returning starters, the West Delaware boys cross country team has the potential to be a solid team.

Among those returners are senior Nathan Goranson and junior Blake Smith. While several Hawks put in extra miles over the summer, Goranson and Smith spent time running in Australia.

Other key returners for the Hawks include juniors Andrew Salas, Tyger Vaske, Matthew Mensen, Jacob Wenger and Nicholas Stocks, along with sophomore Jesse Thurn.

“We have an experienced team with all of our varsity starters back but one,” head coach Dale Meyer explained. “We have several runners with experience. It will be key for a few of them to step up and lead this team.”

Meyer identified freshmen Cruz Timmerman, Nolan Mensen, Kasey Fisher and Carson Less as newcomers to this year’s squad.

Meyer said Clear Creak-Amana is a favorite to win the WaMaC, along with Marion, Center Point-Urbana, Vinton-Shellsburg and Mount Vernon. He expects his Hawks to have a top-half finish in the conference.

“We are still looking for runners to break the 18-minute mark from this group. They have trained for it. That’s where they will need to be to have a chance at qualifying for state at the end of this season.”