The Milford boys’ and girls’ cross country teams had standout seasons a year ago, as both took home Henlopen South titles. With another cross country season upon us, Milford hopes to not only duplicate last season’s success, but surpass it.
While they won’t take to the course for their season opener against Caesar Rodney and Smyrna until September 14, the goal for this season is clear.
“Expectations are to repeat as (Henlopen South) Divisional champs for both the boys and girls,” said Head Coach Bob Spath. “The girls have a good shot at being county and conference champs this year, as well.”
The aforementioned Lady Bucs had an impressive 2015 season with a number of runner producing consistent and solid outings each meet.
Milford’s girls team went 10-2 during the regular season, falling only to Henlopen Conference Champion Caesar Rodney and to Henlopen North squad Sussex Tech by just a point.
Seven Lady Bucs ran in the DIAA Cross Country State Championships last season, six of which were either juniors, sophomores or freshman.
Four of those runners finished among the top 100 at states, led by then juniors, Rajene Bowe and Deja Rodriguez-Santiago - Bowe placed 16th overall, while Rodriguez-Santiago took 31st.
Meanwhile, fellow junior Emily Holstein and sophomore Tabitha Wojciechowski also placed in the top 100 out of 155 total runners at states.
Rajene Bowe and Deja Rodriguez-Santiago led the way as juniors, followed by Emily Holstein and Tabitha Wojciechowski who both finished in the top 100 out of 155 total runners Bowe placed 16th at states, while Rodriguez-Santiago finished 31st.
With that much talent possibly returning, Milford will be a favorite within the division with the possibility to accomplish even more.
Not to be forgotten was the job the Milford boys’ team did a year ago. They too were division champs, going 7-5 overall with their only losses coming against Henlopen North opponents.
The boys had seven runners compete at last year’s states, with four finishing among the top 100 out 170 total runners.
Unlike the girls’ team, the boys graduated three of the runners that took part in states. However, the names that remain may be on the cusp of carving their niche within the program.
Ben Sobota and Brock Hilligoss were both freshman a year ago, Sobota finished 56th at states and Hilligoss placed 85th. After gaining some valuable experience in their first season with the team, there’s a good chance both will improve even more during their sophomore campaigns.
While both teams will be looking to get the season off to a good start, for now getting themselves in the best shape possible in preparation for the season is most important.
“Preseason focus is overall strength and endurance, we’re weight training everyday.” said Spath. “Our running focus is endurance based for the first three week to four week, we’ll focus on speed after that.”
In just a few short weeks, both teams will begin their pursuit of another division title with their eyes on defending Division II State Champs Tatnall.