Central DeWitt Cross Country

Pictured in the 2019 Central DeWitt boys and girls cross country team

The Central DeWitt Sabers didn’t have athletes running in Fort Dodge late last October.

That hurt a bit, especially when Carly Small had qualified the year before and missed out on a second. Small is back though, along with quite a few other core athletes for the Sabers and head coach Eric Olson is like what they’re seeing already.

“The moral on the team is high right now,” Olson said. “The kids are training with a little more intensity than they have in the past couple years, and we are very excited to see their development throughout the season.”

They opened their season at home last week, hosting the Central DeWitt Early Bird Invitational and quite a few larger schools. Even with some athlete gone from graduation, they still put on a performance.

We lost a couple of strong varsity athletes in Maddie Peterson and Carter Myers, but we have a good core of kids coming back,” Olson said. “For the boys Tanner Naeve and Jack Campbell are off to a really nice start, and for the girls Carly Small, Kyleen Irwin, and Hannah Payne are leading along with Mason Lange. We have a couple of new faces that I think will help in time, those being Matthew Watters for the boys and Madi McAvan and Crystal Burke for the girls.”

For the boys, Campbell was the first to clock in for the Sabers on Tuesday, finishing in 20:10.73. Naeve did not run Tuesday.

On the girls’ side, Kyleen Irwin finished in an impressive 22:07.54 in seventh place overall. The senior was followed up by Mason Lange in 10th and Hannah Payne in 12th.

“We’re hoping to see a couple of state qualifiers for both boys and girls, and possibly a shot at qualifying as a team,” Olson said. “Mostly we want to see improvement out of all of our athletes, and we want to see the team climbing in finishes from the beginning of the season to the end.”