By Mike Zummo
There’s going to be a lot of new blood on the Valley Central boys’ cross-country team this season.
First, and foremost the Vikings have a new head coach as Brendan Sutta takes over the reins from former coach Glenn Eckert, and while the Vikings only graduated one senior last year, they only have two returning runners, junior Brian Quinn and sophomore Caleb Sahlstrom.
The Vikings last competed during the condensed Fall 2 COVID-19 season in which they didn’t field a full team but look to have increased numbers.
Sutta said top runner Jacob Sahlstrom is in great shape and will look to mix in with the area’s top runners.
With incoming freshmen, Rocky Reavey, Isaiah Nievers, Isaiah Tejada and Steven Delon; sophomores, Andrew Conero and Vance Palmer; and seniors Logan Bond and Myles Corday, the Vikings are looking to be more competitive this fall.
“We have a young group of athletes, which is very promising for the future of the program,” Sutta said.
“We’re looking to build some base fitness for the new athletes and get the returners and upperclassmen in good shape to run personal bests by season’s end.”
The girls’ team, under second-year coach Allison Borriello, is looking to improve, as well.
Borriello gave a special recognition to the team’s three senior, Riley Cavalluzzo, Hailey Morrison and Allison Robinson.
“All of those athletes have worked hard to make all our new runners fee welcomed and have shown great leadership for our team,” Borriello said.
Returning juniors include Ava Carsley and Ainsley Baker, as the Vikings look to replace Kelly O’Connor, Kelly Conan, Corinne Faulkner, Hannah Griffin and Isabella Rossi on the course.
Freshman Grace Burns, Laura Griffin, Olivia Ramos and Gabriella Wildrick joined the team for their first varsity seasons.
“Our goal this season is to work together as a team and be competitive within our section,” Borriello said.
“We have a great blend of accomplished upperclassmen and incoming freshmen that are ready to compete.