Dubois boasts quality runners on both sides

Kaiti Sullivan/The Herald
Northeast Dubois’ Paige Wildman cheers with her team before the 2019 Tri-County Invitational cross country meet at Huntingburg. Wildman finished in 12th place.


Northeast Dubois sent its girls cross country team to semistate in 2019, finishing in 13th place, and four of those girls are back with the team in 2020. Shelby Livingston is set to run at the University of Evansville, while foreign exchange student Frida Hansson went back home to Sweden.

Sophomores Jordan Schweikarth, Sara Livingston and Paige Wildman, and senior Morgan Schepers could all potentially get back to semistate this year, but they may have to do so as individuals.

“Right now, we’re struggling with numbers to get a full team,” coach Ben Gessner told The Herald last week. “We’re working, trying to get enough runners to become a team, but the girls have been training this summer. So, their potential is there yet to advance back to semistate, as long as they keep a positive attitude.”

Northeast Dubois sent Schweikarth to the state finals last year. She ran a time of 20:34.3, and finished in 139th place. Gessner said Schweikarth has stayed consistent and put more mileage in this summer. He sees her getting up there again if she can work a bit harder and push herself in the team’s workouts.

Gessner noted there was a lot of inexperience on last year’s girls team, but Livingston and Wildman learned a lot about racing when they were freshmen. He’s hoping the two of them can turn around any hiccups they had and build off of that. He credited the team for having a lot of self-determination to get to semistate in spite of that inexperience.

He’s also looking for good things from Schepers as a senior leader.

“I see her bringing a lot of energy to the team,” he said. “I hope the girls look up to her and respond to her positive energy. I think she’ll show us some great leadership to the girls as well.”

Coming back for his senior year on the boys side is Pierce Brinkman, who made it onto the Class 1A Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches All-State Team in 2019, an honor Schweikarth had on the girls side, with Livingston as an honorable mention.

Brinkman competed at semistate as an individual, running a time of 17:57.9, and finishing in 117th place. He was named the Most Valuable Runner in 2019.

“The field is stacked when you get to semistate,” Gessner said. “He’s got potential. I know he’s been working on his base very well this summer. We just got to get him fine tuned in our workouts once school starts there. Get him tuned up, and he’s just got to be focused when he’s out there.”

Another senior coming back is Trevor Buechler. Gessner lauded Buechler as a hard worker, but is hoping he will build self-confidence. He’s also anticipating sophomore Brandon Schnell will be higher in the pack for the team this year. Gessner will be looking to Schnell to be a good leader for this team. He added that junior Preston Brinkman and sophomore Peyton Betz could round out the top five.

This period of time will focus on Northeast Dubois runners building their base if they haven’t already, as well engaging in different workouts to gauge their strength and cardio level.

The team is scheduled to begin its season Aug. 17 at the Alice Relays in Vincennes.

“It’s kind of a different race — it’s more like a relay race type thing,” Gessner said. “I’m just asking them to go out there and work hard, use it more as a practice, but also as kind of a starting point, see where they are at the early part of the season here.”

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