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Highland Men's Cross Country Season Previewpublished August 15, 2016
Highland Men’s Cross Country Season Preview
The 2015 version of the men’s cross country program at Highland Community College ended at the NJCAA national championship where the men finished a disappointing 33rd. This year’s version looks to get back to the top 20 where it finished in 2013 (17th) and 2014 (14th -- an HCC record). The men’s program has been in every national ranking for the last three years, and this year looks to continue that trend.
Coach Chad Clevenger returns for his seventh season at the College, where the program has grown in numbers and in talent. This year’s team has four returners from last year’s squad, and brings in seven newcomers, including 2016 1600 state champion Cole Hinton from Riverside High School. The program also adds Coach Michael Castel to the staff, which will give this group great guidance and big meet experience.
Jorge Guerrero (San Antonio, TX) returns as the top runner. He was an indoor and outdoor national qualifier. An injury ended his cross country season short last season, where he was HCC’s top runner in four meets. John Brunner (Elbing) is a 2016 National Qualifier in the 10,000 meter run. A relentless worker, he adds a great toughness to this group of Scotties. Jonathan Miller (Eudora) comes back as a quality leader who is excited to step in and lead this group after a great outdoor track season. Jordan Adams (Princeton, MO) is coming off an outdoor track season where he gained experience, and with that, reported to cross country camp in great shape, and looks to be a top five guy.
The seven newcomers boast quality talent and depth, something the team has lacked in the past few years. Jackson Beaver (St. Joseph, MO), was a three-sport standout athlete at Benton High School. He was a state qualifier in cross country, still young to the sport, and looks to make big strides in his development. Cole Hinton (Wathena) is fresh off winning the state championship in the 1600, and looks to make a strong impact on this recruiting class. Tristan Hinton (Wathena) is coming off a breakthrough track campaign, where he was a school record holder in the 3200. Both Hintons are academic All-Stars, and look to help boost the men’s academic status as well. Brandt Houk (Hiawatha) finished fifth in the KSHSAA cross country state championship, and was a Big 7 cross country champion. Jose Jaime (McAllen, TX), was a state medalist in the Texas state cross country championships, was a district champion, and looks to contend for the top spot on this team. Zekarias Philipo (Houston, TX), was a high school Junior Olympic National Qualifier, an individual champion, and team champion at Alief Hastings High School. Isaiah Smith (Houston, TX), joins the team after a big track season for the Scotties a year ago, where he was named to the All-KJCCC team, and placed fourth in the Conference 1500.
Coach Clevenger: “I feel we have an outstanding young group of guys. They work hard, are very smart, and determined to get us back into the top 20! We bring back such good leaders who all lead in different ways that complement each other so well. I look forward to our first meet in late August to see where we are, but we’re focusing on being a group that will be October and November tough!”