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Seneca East?Boys?Cross Country

August 30, 2013
The Advertiser-Tribune

Coach: Doug Mason

2012: Division III state champions

Returning letterwinners: Seniors Jason Willman; Ben Frankurt; Robby Schaffer; Alex Buckley. Juniors Carson Pipher; Wes Pipher; Jared Stockmaster; Michael Szabo; Bryce Watson; Brady McWilliams. Sophomores Elliott Hoepf; Tommy Sollis.

Article Photos

Seneca East?Boys Cross Country:?(front, left) Andy Bordner, Tommy Solis, Garrick Manning, Alex Buckley, Ben Frankart, Jason Willman, Rob Schaffer, Noah Nichols, Michael Szabo, Daniel Cook, Gunner Wilson (back) Doug Mason, Connor Caudill, Jacob Skidmore, Colin Gibbs, Brady McWilliams, Carson Pipher, Bryce Watson, Wes Pipher, Jared Stockmaster, Elliott Hoepf, Jacob Margraf Matt Schock

Others: Junior Daniel Cook. Sophomores Noah Nichols; Jeff Shook. Freshmen Andy Bordner; Connor Caudill; Collin Gibbs; Jared Kaiser; Garrick Manning; Jacob Margraf; Jacob Skidmore; Gunner Wilson.

Outlook: Seneca East reached the pinnacle last season.

The Tigers won the Division III state championship in 2012, giving its community something to cherish for years and years.

So, what can the Tigers do for an encore?

A repeat title isn't impossible or even unlikely, simply based on the runners Seneca East brings back.

Of the scoring runners, only Karl Burgderfer doesn't return off last year's squad.

But Mason said this year will be a challenge, starting with replacing Burgderfer.

"We had one senior, the fifth man on that team, that was very invaluable, actually," Mason said.

Invaluable because it was Burgderfer's finish that secured the championship.

"It goes to show you how vital that fifth man is, and we've got some big shoes to replace because Karl had a big senior year," Mason said.

Besides that, Mason said everyone's aware how daunting repeating is.

"You're remembered for what you do next. It's so difficult to repeat," he said. "That drive, that motivation. I told them, 'How good do you want to be?' It's tough to repeat as a champion, and I see why now. You have to battle. No doubt about it.

Leading the Tigers is Willman, the top runner from a season ago. Mason said the senior actually is in a better spot than he was last year at this time. In August of 2012, Willman still was recovering from an injury.

"He's obviously ahead of where he was last year [when he] couldn't train," Mason said. "He's learned how to cope and deal. He's an incredible talent, incredible person."

And while everyone is talking about a team championship, Mason said Willman is capable of another title.

"He has a chance to be individual state champion in Division III," Mason said. "If he stays healthy and trains the way he needs to train, he might have a shot at it at the end of the year."

A look at the junior class also has to give Tigers fans high expectations.

"Our junior class is incredible," Mason said.



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