Senior Matt Bromley has been the pacesetter in the Muskingum Valley League, winning the past two league cross country titles while becoming a two-time All-Ohioan.
Bromley will be part of another talented Sheridan team under the direction of sixth-year boys coach J.D. Walters, who has led the Generals to five consecutive MVL titles. He also led the team to a district runner-up and fifth-place finish in the regional this past season.
Sheridan graduated Mac Bloom, Nathan Smith and Zach Hanf, but returns plenty of experience. In addition to Bromley, the team will be led by senior Joey Palumbo and sophomore Clay Fisher, who were All-MVL runners. Sophomores Garrett Gwinn and Keith Clellan also are back after placing in the top 15 at the league meet. Other returners are seniors Sam Yinger and Sully Gwinn, junior Nathaniel Kehn and sophomore Nick Wright.
Junior Lucas Severance and freshman Tan Smith, an All-MVL junior high runner, headline the newcomers.
Walters likes his team’s chances to stay at the top, thanks to its depth.
“Many MVL teams will have strong front runners, but our depth should make us the favorite to repeat,” he said. “I’m very excited about what we can accomplish this season.”
The girls team, under the guidance of sixth-year coach Bart Smith, will replace a lot of talent. The team graduated 12 seniors, whose class won the league title from seventh through 12th grades.
The losses include Andrea Mick, Jessi Habegger, Denae Forgrave, Jane Oberhauser and Madison Emmert, who led the Generals to the state meet a year ago.
Senior Heather Findlay, who broke the 20-minute barrier at the state meet, and junior Katy Foltz, who also competed at state, return to help the Generals try to capture a sixth consecutive league championship.
Senior Grace Purkey is new to varsity but will be counted on for leadership. Junior Amy Craig also joins the lineup and should make an immediate impact.
“This year’s team will have quite a challenge to fill the shoes of all our graduates from last year,” Smith said. “We train with the expectation to compete within the MVL for the top spot knowing that many of the schools are ready to take that title.
“We are excited about the opportunity to see this team grow together, gain confidence, and lead a young group of talented runners to become future Generals,” he added.
The Muskies have been the main threat to the Generals and find themselves in a position of replacing some of their top runners.
The boys team graduated five seniors — including Woody Jamiel, Grant Slack and Zac Klies — from 2012’s league runner-up. They also were part of back-to-back regional squads.
Juniors Ryan Fahey and Dylan Hague and sophomore Jake Bird are the returning letterwinners for Brian Fulks and Harriett Hunter, who both enter their seventh seasons at John Glenn.
A group of newcomers will battle to fill out the lineup. They include juniors Trey Bennett and Austin Snyder; sophomores Jake Whaley, Tanner Slack, Coen Carr and John Ratliffe; and freshmen Ryan Kughn, Matt Bean, Kyler Gossett, Kyler Brock and Ethan Ravak.
Senior Rheanna Wilson, a two-time state qualifier and an All-Ohio and All-MVL performer, leads the girls squad, which graduated Moriah Carson and Laura Mihalik.
Seniors Kirstyn Podojak and Kaci Simms, junior Jenna Durant and sophomores Eleanor Mullins, Kaylie Callihan and Sam Reed also are back.
Freshmen Cassie DeSalvo, Karley Fahey and Alaina Howell highlight the newcomers.
Fulks expects Sheridan to be the team to beat on the boys side, but the girls title will be a season-long battle.
“We want to compete for the MVL title.” he said. “(The boys) are trying to get back to the regionals and (the girls) want to advance as far as they can.”
The Panthers will feature some of the more talented runners in the MVL under fifth-year coach Paul Bailey.
The girls team graduated Dana Dale, who will run at Ashland, but will be led by junior Capria Hall, who was All-MVL and a regional qualifier.
The boys team features junior Connor Wright, who finished fifth at the MVL meet in 2012. Freshman Adam Dietz highlights the newcomers after placing sixth in the MVL junior high meet a year ago.