MT. VERNON —
Surrounding Modert, the Rams will have a small number but several solid veteran group of runners. The Rams have eight total runners on the squad. The number includes one incoming freshman.
Turner said he expects Jordan Wilemon (senior), Ethan Badger (junior), Daniel Flood (junior) and Brykell Patton (senior) to help form a solid core.
Turner said he witnessed Wilemon improve in the second half of the spring track season.
“His runs are a lot better,” Turner said. “He's a lot closer to David on a lot of the trainings.
Right there with Wilemon is Badger, and Turner said Flood improved himself in the mile run on the track. That experience carries into the cross country season.
Patton was used as a hurdler in the track months, and Turner said his transition into cross country form has taken a bit longer.
“It's taken him a little longer to get going, but he's really starting to come,” Turner said. “
Jordan Hubbard who transferred to Mt. Vernon from Collinsville joins the team as a junior. Tyler Williams will run as a sophomore.
“He and Jordan both are just now getting the mileage and getting the training in to where they can start to compete for three miles,” Turner said.
Hagen Schneider is the lone freshman on the team. He comes to the Rams from Field Grade School.
“Late October we're really going to see an improvement in him where he'll really start coming on and get good for us,” Turner said.
For the first time in several decades Mt. Vernon won't be hosting its invitational. Typically, its the only home meet of the season for Turner's team. The coach said teams have consistently dropped out of the event for the past decade. Mt. Vernon entered this season with the possibility of facing just three other schools. Turner said at its height, the invitational drew close to three dozen schools to the city. The event lost numerous schools after other teams dropped out to host their own invitationals over the years. Belleville West dropped out and drew in about a dozen Metro East schools. Several also went north to Peoria where they get experience running on the state final course.
“Literally we only had about a loyal three teams that were going to be there,” Turner said.
The Rams open the season Sept. 4 in Murphysboro.