IOWA CITY– The start of a new season is a challenge for any coach, and West High’s Brian Martz is no exception. The Trojan Cross Country team lost a number of seniors to graduation, and Martz said his squad needs “(some guys to) step up to the plate and rise to the occasion if we are going to challenge for a conference championship or a team berth at state this year.”
The Trojans return seniors Isaac Jensen and Bailey Wetherell with junior Daniel Gardarsson. Jensen posted a best time of 15:33 last year, placed fourth in the Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC) and ninth at state. Wetherell’s best was 16:05, 17th in the MVC and 48th at state. Gardarsson’s best time came in at 15:43, he placed fifth in the conference and 15th at state.
Senior Joseph Malanson returns and will be joined by newcomers Patrick Karanja (a freshman), Kaleb Greiner (junior) and Chris Thomas (senior).
“We are very solid through our top three runners that have a lot of experience competing at a high level in cross country and track,” Martz said.
The Coach sees crosstown rival City High as the favorite in the MVC. “They have tradition and talent. With Cedar Rapids Washington and Linn-Mar on the other side this year (Valley Division), our division (Mississippi) is wide open. I think we can challenge if we can add some depth.”