A change in status
Tigers no longer the new team; now they're the fast team
Star correspondent
The success of the Fishers High School boys cross country team last year in its first season might have come as a shock to some but not coach Rob Seymour.

Drew Shields (left) and Cale Allen (glasses) led the Fishers cross country team in practice on July 31. Shields was 13th in last year's state meet. We're expecting big things this year, he said. One of Fishers' first goals will be to win the Hamilton County meet, an event Carmel has dominated the past 30 years. The Tigers finished two points behind Carmel last year and have their top seven runners returning. - Tom Klubens / For The Star
I wasn't surprised at what they were able to do, Seymour said of his team that took seventh in the state meet after winning the sectional title at Pendleton Heights, placing second in the Carmel Regional and fourth in the Franklin Central Semistate. Seymour expects the momentum to continue.
It was a good beginning year for us, one that we can use as a springboard into this season and hopefully set our sights a little bit higher, have another good year and make some new firsts again for Fishers High School, Seymour said.
Fishers will have its first group of seniors and also could challenge for the Hamilton County title, something Carmel has had a stranglehold on for more than 30 years, losing only to Hamilton Southeastern in 2004. Fishers finished just two points behind Carmel in last year's county race.
Fishers will be lights out, said Carmel coach Chuck Koeppen. They gave us all we could handle every time we ran against them, and they have all those boys back. I saw all their boys improve during the (spring) track season.
The Tigers return all seven varsity runners from last year's state meet in seniors Cale Allen, Nate Piggush and Tyler Stegman; junior twins Alex and Drew Shields; and sophomores Omavi Caesar and Dylan Dale. On top of that, juniors Jeff Vibbert and Ryan Wells could challenge for a varsity spot.
We're expecting big things this year, said Drew Shields, the team's top runner who finished 13th at the state meet.
We had everybody showing up at summer training. We're just really excited for the season and have big expectations coming in and we hope to even exceed those.
Allen understands the Tigers' success last year won't go unnoticed by opposing teams. Fishers opens its season Aug. 18 at the Westfield Hokum Karem.
Last year, in our eyes, we were kind of the hunter, Allen said. No one really expected us to do anything. We really didn't have too much pressure; just go in and race. This year will be kind of different. We have a target on our backs.
Seymour believes his runners are up for the challenge.
We can define our program with sectional championships and runs at state titles, but I want these kids to really buy into running and to know that they can do this at a higher level after high school, Seymour said.