Waukon girls cross country team brings back seven letterwinners for 2020 campaign as Tyler Scholl takes over the head coaching helm

2020 Waukon girls cross country team ... Left to right - Front row: Kaitlyn Krambeer, Paige Hansmeier, Bailey Shafer, Mia Kurth, Madelyn Helgerson, Emma Retallick; Middle row: Roxie Grotegut, Cameron Johnson, Avery Regan, Meridian Snitker, Hannah Teslow; Back row: Hailie Hanson, Olivia Marti, Annika Headington, Olivia Byrnes, Mallory Berns, Natalie Byrnes. Not pictured: Hailey Bresnahan, Skylar Garrett, Lilly Kossman, Maddy Waters, Breckan Stewart, Trudy Baxter.

2020 Waukon girls cross country returning letterwinners ... Left to right: Paige Hansmeier, Bailey Shafer, Annika Headington, Olivia Byrnes, Madelyn Helgerson. Not pictured: Skylar Garrett and Maddy Waters.

The 2020 Waukon girls cross country team will feature a great deal of familiarity overall, but will have a new look at the very top beginning with this season. Returning seven runners with varsity letterwinning experience, the greatest change for the Lady Indian distance program will be in the head coaching position as Tyler Scholl takes over the helm of the program following the departure of Brett Egan, who is now teaching in the Cedar Falls Community School District.

Although Coach Scholl is new to the head coaching helm for the Indians, he is certainly no stranger to the Waukon distance running program or the sport of running, in general. He has served as an assistant coach for both the Indian cross country and track programs since his arrival to the Allamakee Community School District. “This is my fifth year teaching and coaching at Waukon,” Coach Scholl shared. “During my time at Waukon I’ve had the privilege to coach our distance track athletes and I helped out the girls cross country program my first three years here. Other than that, I love cross country and track and I ran throughout high school and a few years in college.”

Adding a further level of change to this season is the COVID-19 pandemic that has been plaguing the high school athletics scene - and the world - since March of this year. Coach Scholl notes that the pandemic situation obviously brings a completely different point of consideration into his first season at the Indian helm. “My greatest concern is keeping our athletes and their families healthy throughout our season,” Coach Scholl said. “Even though there are a lot of things out of our control, there are few things that we can do as a team to limit our exposure and to protect others. Our student athletes will have to be disciplined and thoughtful if they want to have a full season, and even then it isn’t set in stone. For now, we are grateful to be running as a team and we will be excited to run each race that we can.”

Even with guidelines and restrictions in place well before the season even started, cross country is a sport where individual preparation gives anyone who takes advantage of it a potential edge. Coach Scholl notes that many of this season’s charges tried to take advantage of that opportunity as much as possible. “Many of the kids ran throughout the summer months,” he said. “They put in many miles on their own before we were allowed to organize group runs in July. They understood that building a smart mileage base was key to having a good season and I’m excited to see what they can achieve.”

Leading that charge to achievement will be a collection of those seven runners with varsity experience returning to pace the Indian effort. Seniors Olivia Byrnes, Skylar Garrett, Annika Headington, Bailey Shafer and Maddy Waters, junior Madelyn Helgerson and sophomore Paige Hansmeier will provide that veteran leadership, with Headington, Shafer, Waters and Helgerson each running and Hansmeier qualifying as an alternate on last season’s squad that qualified for the State Cross Country Meet for the third consecutive season and ultimately placed 12th among Class 2A’s elite teams at that season grand finale.

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