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Prep Cross Country Notepad: Augrom wants Indians’ back end to step it up

The Stafford cross country team has two runners performing at a high level.

But Indians coach Pete Augrom said it will take much more than that for the defending Group AAA state champions to enjoy another successful postseason.

Senior standout Ian MacLeod placed fourth overall at Octoberfest last Saturday in The Plains. Junior Joey Abbatiello finished 13th.

MacLeod and Abbatiello propelled the Indians to an eighth-place showing as a team.

“They’re both having a great year,” Augrom said. “Having that one–two punch really gives the other guys some confidence to go out and try to make a move.”

Ben Ramirez and Luke Lysher are battling for the No. 3 and No. 4 positions. Ramirez was third for Stafford at Octoberfest (78th overall). Lysher was fourth (89th overall).

Augrom said the team is going to need Ramirez, Lysher and others to run consistently the remainder of the season.

“To make a move, you need a full team,” Augrom said. “That’s one of the things we’ve been emphasizing to the guys. It doesn’t matter how good those top two are doing. If you don’t have a 3, 4 and 5 to back them up, you aren’t going anywhere.”

MacLeod has certainly been good this season. He set a school record (15:29) at the Great American Invitational two weeks ago in Cary, N.C.

Augrom said he’s preached to the other runners that they don’t have to aim to run as strong as MacLeod. He said if they can get closer to Abbatiello, the team will benefit.

The Indians will participate in the Albemarle Invitational on Saturday. They’re aiming to be in top form for the Commonwealth District meet on Oct. 24.

“We’ve had a goal since the beginning of the year to get back to states, and finish in the top three,” Augrom said.

Taft Coghill Jr.