During each of the past four years, members of the Midland cross country team, and head coach Jon Eganhouse, knew exactly who they could count on to lead the way for the Eagles at pretty much every meet the team entered.

Trenton Rickels, who burst onto the scene as a freshman running all the way to the state meet, stayed a consistent force throughout his entire cross county career in Wyoming.

While Rickels was never able to quite make it back to Fort Dodge in the three years after his 2018 appearance, he constantly represented the program well with quality performances against all kinds of competition.

With Rickels ending his career at the class 1A state qualifier meet in Cascade last month, it’s now time for others to step up and lead the Eagle program.

“Next year, we will need one of my two, three or four runners to step up and take the No. 1 spot Trenton had and lead this team,” said Eganhouse, as the Midland boys made some serious strides during the 2021 campaign posting numerous team victories at various meets all across eastern Iowa.

“We will also need to pick up another boy to allow us to keep competing as a team at meets as well.”

Not only do the Eagle boys lose the services of their No. 1 runner in Rickels, but also senior Bryce Rushford who with his mere presence allowed Midland to compete in the team standings at meets.

“Six years ago, I started coaching cross country at Midland,” Eganhouse said. “I had five seventh-graders run for me and show a lot of promise. Over the six years, three of them dropped out of the program for one reason or another. The two that were left were Trenton and Bryce.

“Trenton has always shown a lot of promise. To look at Bryce, you would think he should be the starting linebacker for the football team instead of a runner, but his dry wit and humor were appreciated.”

Milo Smith, Jayson Ruley, Tristan Kunde, Jay Bentley and Vincent Kunde all took the course for the Eagle boys this past season and are expected to return for another run in 2021.

The lone Midland girl on the roster this past fall, Kaitlin Kunde, hopes to have some teammates to run with at practices and meets in 2022.

“For the girls, I need a team,” Eganhouse said. “It is hard on Kaitlin to be the only runner for us. She needs more girls to train with her.”

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