Kee cross country teams each return all but one runner as girls try to build on most successful season ever, boys continue improvement trend

2018 Kee cross country teams ... Front row: Haley Meyer, Reagan Mudderman, Katie Brennan, Makayla Peters, Rachel Walleser, Laura Colsch, Ella Strong, Makayla Walleser. Back row: Coach Pat Wagner, Daniel Wagner, Michael Mattson, Chris Wagner, Ryan Whalen, Jacob Berns, Chance Colsch. Not pictured: Nick Buege, Rebecca Kadera, Brayden Mathis. Photo courtesy of the Kee High School Yearbook.

The Kee girls and boys cross country program looks to benefit from the return of all but one of last season’s competitors from each squad. Just one senior was lost to graduation this past spring, taking the multi-year experience of Nicki Wood with it, but the return of five other varsity letterwinners from a team effort of historic proportions last season still gives the Kee girls team just cause for continued optimism. Likewise, the return of all but one of last season’s varsity frontrunners for the Kee boys squad looks to have a similar impact on moving forward.
“The ultimate goal for both groups is to be performing our best in October, and in order to do so they must have a good approach on a daily basis,” Kee girls and boys cross country coach Pat Wagner said. “Effort and attitude are the keys. If each and every member of the squad is consistently dedicated to excellence, then the season will be a success. We just have to control the things we can control, which ultimately is our own effort.”

After completing its best season in program history last fall with a best-ever third-place team finish at the Class 1A State Meet, a runner-up result at the Class 1A State Qualifying Meet and winning its first Upper Iowa Conference (UIC) team championship since the 1996 season, the Kee girls cross country team looks to continue to build on that historic foundation this fall, benefiting from the return of five of last season’s six varsity veterans and getting a significant boost from this fall’s incoming freshman class. That anticipated combination is also noted by others, as the Lady Hawks begin the season ranked second in the initial Iowa Track and Field Coaches Association Class 1A team rankings.

That returning experience includes the senior pair of Katie Brennan and Makayla Walleser at the leadership helm, with the junior trio of Laura Colsch, Makayla Peters and Rachel Walleser rounding out those varsity veterans. Brennan is a two-time State Meet qualifier, as an individual in 2016 and leading last season’s historic finish at the season grand finale with a top-20 effort. She was also joined by Peters and Rachel Walleser in running to All-Conference honors during last season’s UIC championship effort.

Both the Hawk boys and girls were scheduled to get their 2018 season underway Tuesday, August 21 at the Edgewood-Colesburg Invitational. Kee will then travel to Oelwein Tuesday, August 28.

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