Park Hill’s rosters will be built with runners from all grade levels.
After a difficult season in 2016, the Trojans have a limited number of key returners and plan to mix experience with incoming talent in an effort to rebuild. There were no state qualifiers last season, and the boys went into Class 4 District 8 competition minus their top two runners due to injury.
Four of the seven runners for Park Hill at District 8 were seniors, including Sectional 4 qualifier Roman Ortiz. The Trojans will hope junior Parker Canfield and sophomore Isaiah Phillips can stay healthy and lead a mostly inexperienced team.
“We have eight to ten new kids, we have several seniors coming back, mostly the bulk of our kids are younger,” Park Hill boys coach John Milholland said.
Like the boys, Park Hill’s girls finished ninth in the Class 4 District 8 team standings.
Amelia Pelaez (junior) and Grace Fink (senior) were the top two individual finishers for the Trojans in 36th and 40th, respectively. They ran three seniors last year, and competition will remain open in the lineup this season.
The down season fueled the returners’ resolve, especially after moving up last year from the Red Division of the Suburban Conference to the Gold Division.
“We were probably one of the better teams in our old conference so coming into our new conference was kind of different and intimidating for us,” Fink said. “I think that we’re just really going to keep stepping up and proving that we belong in that conference.”