Samantha Huether is embracing her role as the Minot High School girls cross country team's top runner.
Huether, one of four seniors, led a group of runners around the outside of the Magic City Campus during practice on Thursday. The team captain is ranked seventh in the 2012 cross country coaches preseason poll for individual runners. She is the only Minot name to appear on the list and one of only five not from Bismarck High School.
Huether finished in eighth place in last year's state meet with a time of 14 minutes, 48 seconds over 2.48 miles. Last year's state meet featured 164 runners. Huether has set higher goals for her final season.
Minot High School senior Samantha Huether takes a lap around the school during practice Thursday at Magic City Campus.
"I want to place higher at states, hopefully top five," she said. "I'd like to decrease my time as well."
She also said that she wants the team to place second or third at states this year. The Majettes placed fourth last year and are projected to finish in the same position, according to the preseason poll. Bismarck Century, Bismarck High and Fargo Davies are expected to finish in front of Minot.
This year's team features a number of freshmen and eighth-graders and only six upperclassmen. The biggest change is at the head coaching position. For the second time in as many years, the Majettes have a new coach. Shannon Bushnell replaces Heather Snowden after being an assistant coach at Surrey High School.
August - 24, Minot Rabbit Run at Maysa Arena Grounds, 4 p.m.; 30, Mouse River Invite at Velva Star City, 4 p.m.
September - 8, Dickinson Invite at Heart River Golf Course, 10 a.m.; 15, Mandan Invite at Mandan Municipal Golf Course, 1 p.m.; 22, Milaca Megameet (Milaca, Minn.).
October - 4, Williston Invitational at Williston Municipal Golf Course, 4 p.m.; 13, West Region meet at Jamestown Golf Course, 1 p.m.; 27, state meet at Dickinson Heart River Golf Course, 2:15 p.m.
Meet the Majettes
Seniors - Sydnee Brey, Jocelyn Haman, Samantha Huether, Clare Super
Juniors - Emma Sandy, Kelsey Ziegler
Sophomores - Casey Brey, Stephanie Huether, Delaney Huss
Freshmen - Maddie Hagerott, Morgan Lemer, Emily Pedersen, Meg Super, Ayva Woody
Eighth-graders - Cambree Albright, Kylee Altendorf, Kelsey Krill, Elizabeth Rohrer, Alexis Wrolson
Seventh-graders - Emily Nelson
"It's been busy and I'm loving every minute of it," Bushnell said. "The girls are my favorite part."
Bushnell points to the senior class to lead the 20-girl team, particularly Huether. Also a gymnast, Huether has led team runs throughout the summer to keep the team in shape.
According to Huether, there are plenty of teammates to keep an eye out for this year, including senior Clare Super, freshman Meg Super, eighth-graders Elizabeth Rohrer and Cambree Albright, as well as her sister, sophomore Stephanie Huether. With Stephanie on the roster, Samantha's leadership role doesn't end at the track.
"It's competitive," she said. "We both challenge each other, but it's nice to have someone there to have a shoulder to lean on."
Stephanie had a strong showing at state as a freshmen, finishing 29th with a time of 15:47, just under a minute behind her sister.
The Majettes begin their season at 4 p.m. today with the Minot Rabbit Run at the Maysa Arena Grounds.