Pacific Northwest XC Preview August 14th, 2010

By Leo Collins

With teams beginning to gear up for the 2010 cross country season area fans should have much to look forward to this fall. Washington fans can look forward to seeing one of the best female runners in the nation in the person of Maddie Meyers. She won the 1A state title in 18:01 and backed that up by qualifying for the Foot Locker national championships in San Diego. The Northwest School runner also had a dynamite track campaign last spring. In the 3A girls division there was a great duel between Amy-Eloise Neale (Glacier Peak- winner at South Whidbey) & Katie Knight (North Central – winner at Richland) last year and we can expect another fine battle between those two again as sophomores. Tansey Lystad, who finished third last fall is also back along with Kendra Weitz of Shadle Park. With Anna Dailey of Garfield graduating the door is open in the 4A division and the leading candidates to succeed her are Minna Fields (2nd – 18:17 & winner at Bellevue) of Stanwood, Priscilla Timmons (4th – 18:23) of Skyview, who won at new Balance, & Bailey Mires (5th - - 18:25) of Mead. Not to be overlooked is Maureen Tremblay -+9(6th – 18:44, who won her division at Capital) of Gig Harbor. Also returning are Kailey Ulland of Kentwood, Alexia Martin of Kent Meridian, Alison Keenan of Lewis & Clark & Rachel Nelson of Walla Walla, who all placed in the top eleven last fall. The girls’ 2A division has 2009 2nd place finisher Marina Roberts of Kingston (18:38 at state & the winner at Fort Worden) back with a chance to follow her sister Ruby as champion. Also back is Sanne Holland of Cheney (3rd – 18:49).

Shane Moskowitz, a two-time Foot Locker finalist & Conner Peloquin, who qualified for Foot Locker last fall, both graduated as did third place finisher Adam Thorne leaving Kenji Bierig of Lewis & Clark & Tyler King of Oak Harbor as the top returnees. Seventh place finisher Timothy Cummings of Eisenhower and Tim Colliton (10th ) of Ferris are also back but the runner to watch closely is Andrew Gardner of Mead, who placed 8th last fall. He had an excellent spring and he aspires to qualify for Foot Locker, so do not be surprised if he makes a run at a state title. Ben Johnston & Drew O’ Donoghue-McDonald have moved on along with the 3rd through 5th place finishers from last year, which leaves Casey Adams (6th – 15:31) of North Central as the top returnee. Stephen Robinson (10th – 15:42) of Bishop Blanchet is the only other runner from the top ten back this fall, so he would appear to be in good position as well. Scott Carlyle of Sehome & Dakota Parker of W F West placed 1 – 2 in the 2A division and both return along with Dylan Croeni of Washougal (4th - 16:13). Most of the guys teams graduated a number of key people so it is hard to predict how they will fare this fall but on the girls’ side look for Shadle Park & Glacier Peak to be strong again.

The Oregon girls will be led by Annamarie Maag & Payton Schutte of Jesuit. Maag has claimed the 6A title at state the last two years & last year also won at Chapman, Danner, Concordia & Sunfair. Her 18:31 at state was the best female time by ten seconds for all divisions & she will be tough to dethrone. She is one of the best runners in the nation but sadly we will never quite know how good she is as the team always heads to NTN while the top runners head to Foot Locker. Payton is a fine runner in her own right & would be a state champion, if not for her team mate. Her time of 18:41 was superior to all other division winners last year. Just having the duo up front makes Jesuit strong but the team has great depth behind them with Adrienne Demaree (8th), Shannon Mahoney (13th), Sabra Devoir (23rd), Olivia Artaiz (25th) & Molly Hagler (33rd) all returning.

Kristen Coffman (4th - 18:46) returns for Tualatin but her team mate Emily Wheeler will be competing for OSU. Kelly O’ Neill of Lakeridge was 5th at state and will be another runner to watch. While that duo should be able to contend up front not to be over-looked are Hayley Gregoire of Beaverton (9th), Claire Devoe (10th) of Lincoln, Larren Morgan (11th) of South Medford and Erin Bergman (12th) of St. Mary’s Academy. St. Mary ‘s will be a team to watch as well, for although they lost Lucy Whipps & Alexa Kearns to graduation, they return Netanya Beard, Ellen Patterson & Bella Gazzola. Joining the team will be Paige Rice, who already has a number of Junior US track titles to her credit, and will be one to watch individually to challenge Maag & Schutte.

Paige Kouba (21st) should lead a reasonably strong South Eugene team that also returns Genevieve Brandt (27th), Nora Wilson ((28th) &Erin Clark (35th) Crater moves up to 6A this fall & will be led by Jessica Vig (13th – 19:56) They also return Jasmyn Andrews, Sarah Hastings & Damaris Remigio. The Summit girls from 5A will be formidable as usual in every race they enter no matter what division is competing. Although they lose track great Kellie Schueler (4th – 19:31) plus Eiran Cohen (6th – 19:37), they return state champion Megan Fristoe (18:52) along with Brit Oliphant (7th – 19:38& , Sara Fristoe (14th – 20:03). )Crescent Valley returns Charlotte Fisher, who placed 9th in 19:47 plus Meredith Wells (15th). The team also returns Claire Krizan (23), Sara Storniolo (55) & Kai Hundemer (75th). In theory they also return former district champion Maddie Entrikin (21st – 20:22) but rumor has it she will not race this year. On the individual level Kellie Foley of Crook County, who lost most of last season due to injury, should challenge for a title if healthy. Siuslaw’s Raelyn Robinson (19:47), champion in the 4A division, returns but two key former team mates have graduated. The team can still count on Linda Paredes (9th – 20:35). Chelsea Spencer of Sutherlin (3rd – 20:10) should challenge again individually.

The 2010 season for the guys could very well be the year of the sophomore with a number of quality runners at all levels. Last year only Cole Watson of Rogue River was able to break sixteen minutes at state but the 3A champion moves on to the University of Oregon leaving Corbin Helt of Creswell (2nd - 16:29) & Ryan Maag of Nyssa (6th) the only two top ten finishers from last year. Taylor Hybil of Portland Christian, a sophomore, may challenge in the division.

At the 6A level Beaverton super-soph Kevin Kavanaugh reminds some of the legendary Billy Harper &, although it is a bit unfair to expect too much from an underclassman, one has to wonder. Kavanaugh won last year at the South Salem Kevin ‘s team mate Dan Oekerman (34th) also had a banner year, while Jackson Haselnus of Sam Barlow (37th) is another sophomore, who could make a splash. With the departure of two-time 6A champion plus Ben Demaree of Jesuit (4th – 16:18) plus a number of others from the top ten, the door should certainly be open for many. Last year Cullen Wannarka of West Linn & Ian Burgess of Franklin placed 2nd & 3rd behind Jordan with times of 16:12 & 16:17. Ian, whose brother Bryce won a state title a few years ago, has high goals that includes a berth at Foot Locker nationals & will be a presence. Cullen on the other hand has been logging consistent mileage this summer as he hopes to lead his team to a state title as well as an NTN berth. He will also be pushed by his Lion team mate Taylor West (5th at state – 16:22), who also placed 2nd behind Cole Watson at the Oxford Bend meet. Ryan Perry (10 – 16:30) of South Medford, David Huddleston (12 - 16:33) of North Medford & Jackson Baker (13 – 16:33) of Franklin should also be in the mix. Of special note is Matt Melancon, who placed eleventh at state (16:31) on somewhat of an off day after a number of reality quality performances and, if he is on look out for him. The Sheldon star won at Concordia. Bekama Jaldi of Reynolds (15th) is another runner to watch.

In the 6A team race West Linn has been waiting four years for this group to become seniors & for the talented freshmen of 2007 it now appears to be their time. Both Central Catholic & Jesuit lost top runners, while West Linn has everyone back. Behind Wannarka & West the Lions have Zach Boyd-Helm (25th – 16:53) & Tom Donnelly (26th – 16:53), who are fine runners in their own right. Also returning are Graham Frank (74) & Andrew Daniels (119), so on paper they are the team to beat at this point. Jesuit, of course, is always a force & they had a great JV squad last year from which to draft replacements for Ben Demaree & Willie Milam (14th – 16:35). Jack Hagler (16 – 16:38) should lead the Crusader & David Leavy (33 – 16:59) can be counted upon to be close behind, so don ‘t sell Jesuit short. Curran Carlile (6 – 16:23), Peter Slauson (7 – 16:26) & Musa Ahmed (19th) have departed CC but they have Andy Bennison (18 – 16:48) & Wasil Ahmed (19 – 16:44) returning. While both Jesuit & Central Catholic will need to depend on new recruits Franklin has a solid group returning behind Burgess. Jordan Baker (13th – 16:33) & Fletcher Hazelhurst (48th – 17:13) will lend support. Reynolds has a number of runners back also.

The 5A boys saw two-time champion Josh Elliott of Crater graduate & the rest of the team move to 6A. Beyond that also graduating are Daniel Winn, Kade Jensen & Dylan Arana, so that leaves Jon Obeso (5th – 16:24, a sophomore from last year at the top of the division. Gustavo Cortez of Marshall (8th – 16:34) was the next underclassman last fall yet right behind him was freshman Travis Neuman of Summit, who placed ninth as a freshman & reminded many of his brother Kenyan. The sophomore thing is still alive at this level as well but do not be surprised to see Hermiston freshman Jose Macias give the upperclassmen fits this fall. He has already impressed his older sister Jennifer, who now is a key runner for Oregon State. Another freshman to watch is Canby’s Morgan Webber.

The scene for the 5A guys in Idaho will be very different thanks to the graduation of three-time champion Eric Fitzpatrick & two-time Foot Locker qualifier Cody Helbling, which leaves David Norris of Coeur d ‘ Alene who placed 3rd in 16:25 as the top returning runner. Dallin Farnsworth of Highland, who placed 4th last year as a sophomore (16:30) should challenge as well. Dallin ‘s brother Taylor qualified for Foot Locker a few years ago, so the family has running talent. Kenneth Freemuth of Boise ( 8th – 16:16:52) is another runner to watch. Kinsey Gomez of Coeur d ‘ Alene ran away with the state 5A title last year and will be formidable. Last year she also won at the Walters yet she was even more impressive at the Foot Locker West Regional. Although tripped and knocked to the ground and into last place, she somehow threaded her way through the pack to finish 11th in the race – just missing the last qualifying place despite racing with a broken wrist. The girl truly has grit & with reasonable racing luck should make it to San Diego this year. Kate Jamboretz of Boise finished third at state (18:56) & was victorious at Camelsback & Caldwell. Other runners of note include Kelli Ellingson (5th – 19”18), Kylie Hutchingson (6th – 19:23) of Highland, Dessie Weigel (7th – 19:24) of Boise & Jordan Mathes (8 – 19:24 of Mountain View.

Emily Nist of Bishop Kelly had a banner campaign last year, as she claimed the 4A state title in 18:20 after winning the Driscoll & placing 2nd at Furman. Her most impressive race of the campaign was at the NTN Northwest Regional, which she won with a fine 17:57 at Eagle Island. Hannah McInturff of Century (18:51) finished 2nd last & Amanda Ward of Twin Falls placed 3rd (19:10) Others of note include Mikesell Clegg of Jerome (5th,) Rebecca Lassere (6th) of Bishop Kelly & Callie Evans of Hillcrest (7th) plus Heidi Free Of Preston (8th). The Bishop Kelly girls will be tough to beat as they only lost Laura Tuthill (4th - 19:13) from last year’s team. Eric Harris of Twin Falls was second in the 4A boys as a sophomore in 16:32 & Tyler Crofts of Hillcrest placed third. Dan Williams of Bishop Kelly is another to watch after claiming fifth at state just a bit ahead of his team mate Travis Milburn,who also returns. Mike McKan of Gooding placed second in the 3A division & is one to watch this year.

Kailey Wilson of Kenny Lake is a two-time state 3A champion & she is only a junior this year. She improved on her winning time last year, so it will be tough to challenge her. Monae Boyles was 2nd last year in the division. Teddy Payenna is the top male returner returning but Niko Friedman of Sitka was not far behind him in fourth. John Klein of Grace (6th – 17:02) is another to consider. The 4A division will be different for both boys & girls as Leah Francis of Juneau Douglass, a three-time, winner will not be around nor will Ivy O’ Guinn, who often followed her. Cortney Kisner, who surprised even herself by claiming a state title, is back however. If she is to be challenged the most likely suspects are Bree Mucha of Soldotna, who was 4th last year & second in 2008 but Jenna Ford of Wasilla (6th) Megan Edic of Lathrop (7th) Amelia Hennesy of Dimond (9th) Hannah Boyer of West Valley (10th) are others to watch. For the guys this will be the first time in a number of years that a Kodiak runner is not favored & Service has the top returner in Silas Talbot. Sage Thidodeau of JD is the most likely challenger.