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FALL SPORTS PREVIEW: Fairfield cross-country ready to take on 2014

Girls’ team is flush with talent, while the boys’ team will look to its youth
By ALLYUS FRITZ/Ledger sports editor | Aug 27, 2014
Photo by: ALLYUS FRITZ/Ledger photo The 2014 Fairfield girls’ cross-country team is, from left, front row: Aluna Olaniyi, Ella Pollet, Tracy Andermann, Abby Melcher, Taylor Ferrel; second row: Tabitha Thornton, Ryan Pate, Emily Hanna, Nicole Buch, Maggie Ferrel, Ashlyn Elmore; third row: Kylee Marlay, Savannah Kelley, Sami Fritz, Kylie Kurtz, Chloe Spalla; back row: Brittany Hoskins, Holly McCoy, Katrina Cecchini, Hailey Simmons and Shannon Morrissey. Anuja Pharasi, Emma Lemlin and Mikaela Lunsford are not pictured.

Improving participation and promising athletes has Fairfield cross-country coach Jerrod Belzer looking forward to the 2014 season.

“We’ve got a good mix of freshman and kids who are new to the sport to go along with experienced kids who can be leaders,” Belzer said. “Our big key for this season is to just stay healthy.”

The Fairfield girls have 11 sophomores to go along with a strong crop of freshman and eight upperclassman. The boys will be young, as they will have just four upperclassman on the roster.

As for staying healthy, sophomore Sami Fritz missed most of last season battling a nagging hip, but it looks to finally have healed enough for her to compete. Fritz was a long distance ace in the spring for the track & field team, which has led Belzer to believe she’s up to full strength once again.

Freshman Nicole Buch also had a nagging injury last season. If both of these girls can stay healthy, it would provide a huge boost to the Trojan lineup. Fritz, Buch, Maggie Ferrel, Ashlyn Elmore, Tracy Andermann, Chloe Spalla, Abby Melcher and a few others will look to grab the seven varsity spots on the girls’ team.

The top girl on the squad however will again be Taylor Ferrel. Now a junior, Ferrel reached the state meet in 2013, where she finished 51st overall with the time of 16:05. Not only will she likely be the team’s number one runner, but with her age comes leadership responsibilities too.

“Taylor had a great track season in the spring as well,” Belzer said. “She looks extremely strong right now.”

The boys’ side had just three seniors last year, but each of them were new to the sport, thus making them rookies like everyone else. This year the boys will have just one senior, Gannon Haile, but his experience will likely prove helpful to the squad. Junior Jordan Van Dijk had a solid season in 2013, and so did sophomore Elijah Parr, who has been up front early on for the boys’ team.

“Elijah’s young but he has been around cross-country as much as any of the other guys,” Belzer said. “He had a nice season last year and a quality track season, so I’m expecting big things from him in that leadership role for the guys.”

The rest of the varsity boys’ team could be a mix of underclassman. The freshman trio of Hunter Bechtel, Conner Ryan and Darren Roberts have each performed well and could be in the varsity lineup come Fairfield’s first meet in Knoxville.

“It’s going to be a building year for them, but it will be one that you’ll see pay off down the line,” Belzer said.

Mt. Pleasant and Fort Madison with be strong again and will threaten to run away with the conference, on both the boys’ and girls’ sides of the action.

“I think it will be a battle between us three once again,” said Belzer. “Again, if we stay healthy, I like our chances as much as anyone else.”


2014 Fairfield Cross Country Varsity Schedule

8/25 @ Knoxville Quad at Pine Knolls CC

9/4 @ Pekin

9/9 @ Van Buren

9/11 Fairfield Invite

9/16 @ Oskaloosa

9/18 @ Fort Madison

9/23 @ Mount Pleasant

9/30 @ Washington

10/6 @ IMS

10/16 SEC Meet (@ Mt. Pleasant)

10/23 District Meet (TBA)


Head CoachJerrod Belzer, 7th season


Key Returnees: Girls – Taylor Ferrel (Jr.), Ashlyn Elmore (So.), Sami Fritz (So.), Guys – Elijah Parr (So.)


2014 Fairfield Trojans Girls’ Cross Country

Tracy Andermann, Sr.

Emma Lemlin, Sr.

Alyssa Fitch, Sr.

Taylor Ferrel, Jr.

Brittany Hoskins, Jr.

Abby Melcher, Jr.

Holly McCoy, Jr.

Chloe Spalla, Jr.

Sami Fritz, So.

Ashlyn Elmore, So.

Maggie Ferrel, So.

Emily Hanna, So.

Savannah Kelley, So.

Mikaela Lunsford, So.

Kylee Marlay, So.

Shannon Morrissey, So.

Ryan Pate, So.

Anuja Pharasi, So.

Tabitha Thornton, So.

Nicole Buch, Fr.

Katrina Cecchini, Fr.

Aluna Olaniyi, Fr.

Ella Pollet, Fr.

Hailey Simmons, Fr.


2014 Fairfield Trojans Boys’ Cross Country

Gannon Haile, Sr.

Jordan Van Dijk, Jr.

Mitchell Burnstedt, Jr.

Nathan Thompson, Jr.

Pawan Baral, So.

Charles Heisel, So.

Logan Stark, So.

Collin Williams, So.

Elijah Parr, So.

Mitchell Taglauer, So.

Eric Swan, So.

Hunter Bechtel, Fr.

Dante Cingerie, Fr.

Gannon Courtright, Fr.

Bowen Richmond, Fr.

Darren Roberts, Fr.

Conner Ryan, Fr.

Jordan Guezimane, Fr.

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