Eagle, Knight Runners Will Be Looking Over Shoulder As Riverside Joins Pack
Boys cross country
Last year’s Frontier League boys cross country co-champions, West Valley and East Valley, return virtually their entire lineups.
As strong as the Valley teams expect to be, they may not be able to duplicate last season’s successes.
Newcomer Riverside, which won the Northeast A League and finished third in state with only one senior, provides a formidable obstacle.
“We’re running packed well and are faster than last year,” said Eagle coach Jim McLachlan of his defending champions. “We have to be tougher because of Riverside.”
Knight coach Dave McCarty is also being cautious.
“I can’t get real excited or optimistic because it’s early,” he said. “And I’m not sure how deep we are.”
League begins in early October with a series of four double-dual meets. One team will advance from district to the State AA meet.
Getting past Riverside is the challenge facing both the Eagles and Knights.
WV among state’s best
West Valley is ranked fourth in state in the preseason. McLachlan considers this a window year.
“We have three seniors who will be instrumental and will leave a void when they are gone,” he said.
Included are Allen Watke, last year’s eighth-place district finisher, Levi Lounder and Matt Wheeler, two talents who faltered at district.
The trio will back returning state qualifier and third-place district finisher, junior Clayton Holmes. Other varsity veteran is sophomore Eric Gorton.
Joining them is Sean McLachlan, the coach’s son and two-year junior high cross country and track league champ. Another freshman, David McNeil, Eric Brosvik and seniors Duane Lutz and Calen Boutillier are varsity hopefuls.
Knights return state qualifiers
Two state veteran runners lead East Valley this year.
Included is district runnerup Chris Henderson, the top returning Frontier runner and junior Ryan Skinner the league’s fifth placer.
Can Henderson be district champion in light of the incoming Riverside runners?
“If you ask him, yes,” said McCarty. “The biggest thing is if he stays healthy.”
Others from last year’s co-champs are junior district 12th placer Dustin Sletner and sophomore Bryan McCarty.
Freshman newcomer Jim Marlow has been a pleasant addition, said Dave McCarty. Juniors Colby O’Very, Nick Granly and senior Andy Tate are all improved.
Also new to the team are senior Nathan Thomas, Trevor Crandall, sophomore D.J. Berezay and freshman Sean Williams.
“I feel good about the kids we have back and having younger kids with good attitudes helps,” said McCarty. “It looks good for the future when we go to the Greater Spokane League.”
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