Coach Zach McKinley’s combined boys and girls cross-country team at Troy Buchanan was filled with surprises in his first year captaining the program.
Now in his second season, he knows his team can only get better.
“(My first season at Troy Buchanan) went better than I expected,” McKinley said. “Let’s see what happens this year.”
On the boys side, the Trojans will be anchored once again by Brody Orf.
The junior is a two-time state qualifier and a school record-holder, and will call be called on to lead a unit with more than a few new faces.
“We were very senior-heavy on the boys side (in 2019),” McKinley said. “We’re very young this year.”
On the girls side, the reverse is the story in several ways.
Unlike the boys team, McKinley’s girls cross-country team is more of a collective rather than one leader. The 2020 version is also considerably more experienced than its male counterparts.
“We have a senior-heavy girls lineup, which the complete reverse of last year.” McKinley said. “The girls are a more closely-knit group as well.
“It’s never more than a three-minute spread from first place through seventh in practices and races.”
McKinley will find out very quickly what kind of teams he’ll have.
The Trojans are dealing with an abbreviated schedule that has already seen five meets canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, including two across the state line in Illinois.