WORTON — The popularity of cross country as a varsity sport at Kent County High School continues to grow. There are 15 girls and boys on this year’s roster, the largest turnout yet for fifth-year head coach Henry Sabetti.
Junior Thomas Martinez and sophomore Sam Buckel put in work over the summer to get them off on strong footing, as did freshmen Lacy Ervin and Stephanie Hogan.
But just about everyone else, including eight additional newcomers, are just starting.
They’re discovering the difference between injury and soreness, said Sabetti, who acknowledged that he is “proceeding with caution.”
“There’s a fine line between getting them in condition and getting them injured,” Sabetti said in a telephone interview Sunday. “I don’t just want them for four weeks or four months. I want them out here for four years.”
The Trojans were scheduled to open yesterday at Kent Island High School.
Their lone home meet is Sept. 25.
Kent’s returnees are Buckel; juniors Martinez, Jon Conner and Andrew Smith; and senior Tim Wintermyer.
The newcomers are junior Marie Zappia and freshmen Jacob Bohle, Gabe Voshell, Connor Moxley, Braiden Bakeoven, Jacob Wintermyer, Desi Foz, Aaliyah Houston, Ervin and Hogan.
Brianna Cummings, another freshman, has been sidelined by injury and will serve as the team manager this fall.
“It’s a very nice group,” Sabetti said.
This is the first time in program history that KCHS has enough girls (five) to score as a team. Sabetti is bringing them along slowly, due to inexperience and fitness level. Only Ervin and Hogan were expected to run in the first meet.
Based on a time trial last Saturday, Martinez and Buckel are projected to be the top two place-finishers for Kent. Voshell, Smith and Tim Wintermyer also should score.
Buckel has shown the greatest improvement from last year, according to Sabetti.
Expectations also are high for Martinez and Voshell. They placed first and second, respectively, in last month’s Kent Goes Purple 5K Color Run in Chestertown.
Sabetti’s assistant coaches are Rich Shaw, who heads the high school’s indoor and outdoor track programs, Matt Moore and Gustavo Aguilar.