With a new head coach and a new set of faces, the boys and girls team will likely experience a few road bumps.
But the goals are “simple,” says coach Jim Miller. Just get better each race.
Miller takes over for Troy Haacke, who resigned after being promoted to girls varsity basketball coach. Haacke will remain as the girls’ track coach as he decided that two sports were going to be timely. Miller is the former longtime Cumberland High School cross country coach that once led the boys’ team to a second-place finish in 2005, as well as five state appearances as a team.
Miller said that it was an easy decision to come to Mattoon as this was “closer to home” and it was a program that had “good, historic results.”
With that said, it will be a rebuild as the numbers on both sides are looking low as Mattoon boys lost its top two runners – All-State runner Brock Davee and Sam Ferrar – from a tea, that finished ninth at the IHSA Regional.
The team has two boys out, who are both freshmen in Beau Farris and Lucas Butler.
“We are a very young team of boys and lost several upperclassmen,” said Miller. “The girls lineup will be just like the boys: very young. But we will have a scoring team.”
The girls’ team brings back sectional qualifier Hallee Perry, as well as Oakley Layton. Both are juniors and have competed the last two seasons.
“Hallee Perry and Oakley Layton have put in a good summer of running,” said Miller.
The Green Wave will have enough on the girls’ side to be a scoring team. Miller is hopeful to see the team progress each week. He will be assisted by Jacob Perry and volunteer assistant Dale Righter.
“We would like to see improvement throughout the season,” said Miller. “We have a good group of younger girls that should make a big step in making our team competitive. Goals are again simple: Score as a team and work toward team qualification toward our Sectional.”
Girls top times in 2021
Oakley Layton (junior), 20:34
Hallee Perry (junior), 21:34
Brie Armstrong (sophomore), 23:08
Zealand Sanders (sophomore), 23:41