File photos Snider's Jesse Hamlin, right, and Northrop's Jack Brokaw, right center, return with state championship experience for their junior seasons.
Cole Powers was Carroll's top finisher for the defending state champion Chargers with a 10th-place finish at the state finals last season.
Friday, August 11, 2017 1:00 am
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Boys cross country
AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette
Carroll proved last season that it didn't need powerhouse front-runners to win a state title. A 10th-place finish from Cole Powers certainly helped while the scoring five were all in the top 40.
Another year of experience will only help for the Chargers.
Cole Powers, Carroll: The junior was the top finisher for the Chargers at last year's state finals with a 10th-place finish.
Zeb Hernandez, Warsaw: The junior finished 24th overall at state last year and was the runner-up at the New Prairie semistate with a season-best 15:51.2.
Jesse Hamlin, Snider: The junior finished 35th at state last year after a break-out sophomore season.
Reece Gibson, Concordia: The sophomore finished 43rd at last year's state finals, the second fastest freshman in the field behind Ceno Christofanelli of Crown Point.
Draven Thompson, Carroll: The junior finished 32nd at state last year as the second-best returner from the state meet for the Chargers.
Carroll: The Chargers are the defending state champions and return four of the seven from the championship squad (Powers, Thompson, Connor Goetz and Cory Waldron) and a healthy Weston Miser, who is expected to contribute in the defense of the title.
Concordia: The Cadets return four of the seven runners from last year's fifth-place team at state; one of the three graduates included Noah Steffen who finished seventh overall.
Northrop: The Bruins return three members of last year's 15th-place team: Jackson Brokaw, Conner Bayne and Nick Derickson.
Warsaw: The Tigers finished eighth at the New Prairie Semistate last year, 21 points behind sixth-place Chesterton, but return all seven runners.
Huntington North: The Vikings finished seventh at the New Haven semistate but return six of the top seven runners, including front-runner Brock Spahr.
Newcomer potential: Homestead freshman Donnie McArdle has a personal best of 16:42, which ranks second on the team when counting returnees.
New coaches: Former Bruin Sam Bird takes over at Northrop.
Double-duty: Bellmont sophomore Kyle Lawson posted the 11th fastest season-best for a freshman last year with a personal-best of 16:37.5.
Legendary: Until Carroll's title last year, the only other Fort Wayne team to win a boys cross country state title was North Side in 1968.
Preseason rankings: A few area teams were named to the www.indianarunner.com preseason top 50 based on returnees and previous results: No. 2 Carroll, No. 21 Warsaw, No. 22 Concordia, No. 27 Huntington North, No. 31 Snider, No. 35 West Noble, No. 39 Northrop, No. 43 Homestead and No. 49 Bellmont.