Chelsea cross-country looking to rebuild

Published 9:53 am Thursday, August 27, 2015

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

CHELSEA – A season ago, the Lady Hornets cross-country team from Chelsea High School finished second in the 6A Section 3 sectional meet, vaulting them to the state meet. Cameron Martindale, who finished eighth in the 6A state meet, led that team, but graduated in the spring. The boys on the other hand just missed out on qualifying for state as they finished fourth in Section 3. Now, a year later, head coach Ben East has to figure out how to replace roughly half of both the boys and girls teams, which were depleted by graduation.

Homewood is the class of the section, according to East, and the numbers back that up. Last season in the boys sectional meet, the top four runners were all Patriots, and an astounding nine of the top 10 finishers all wore Homewood jerseys. That’s next level good. The girls’ meet was not much different, with eight of the top 10 finishers being Patriots, including three of the top five. The expectation for this year is not to challenge Homewood for the first place spot in the region, but to be in contention for a top-three spot at sectionals, when it matters most.

“If we have a good year we could qualify as a team, both boys and girls,” East said in an Aug. 26 phone interview. “We lost about half the team last year with seniors graduating. We have some really young, brand new runners who have shown a lot of promise. I expect a lot out of both teams this year.”

Leading the way for the boys this year will be Christian Fauer. Fauer ran a 17:54.53 last year at the sectional meet as a junior, good enough for 13th place overall. Fauer is the leader of the entire team, both boys and girls, East said, and sets the tone in practice.

Losing Martindale for the girls will be a blow, and Sarah Rabenau and Morgan Robertson will be tasked with picking up that slack. Both will be juniors and both finished 21st and 28th at the sectional meet last year, respectively.

Chelsea is running in the Montevallo Early Bird Twilight Classic on Friday, Aug. 28 to start the season.