Ferris’ State Titlist Trains Off-Season With Lc Coach
GLS boys cross country
A shocking revelation has surfaced regarding South Side teams in Greater Spokane League boys cross country.
Ferris and Lewis and Clark are fraternizing with the enemy (each other).
Yes, defending State AAA champion Isaac Hawkins of Ferris admitted running during the summer with new LC coach Chris Morlan.
Forgive Hawkins for his indiscretion, because he requires tough competition. Morlan, a marathoner who finished 65th at last February’s Olympic Trials, proved a perfect fit.
Hawkins, a senior, is expected to defend his state title and place well at the Foot Locker national championship. One publication ranked Hawkins No. 1 in the country.
Ferris’ boys were ranked No. 2 in the state in mid-September, but most voting coaches were unaware that two top potential returners hadn’t turned out.
Ferris seeks new quality
The Saxons won last year’s Region IV title by upsetting Mead, then placed second to Mead at state despite having three runners in the top five.
Top-five state placers Paul Harkins and Dave Schruth graduated, but Ferris expected senior Dana Harper, 44th at state, and sophomore T.J. Marshall, 48th at state, to help fill the void.
Harper didn’t turn out. Marshall did, then left to follow his interest in soccer.
“He agonized about it because he does have great potential as a runner,” Ferris coach Mike Hadway said of Marshall.
The Saxons always uncover talent, however, and senior Andy Brown (40th at region) and junior Dan Schruth (86th at region) provide Hadway with a good place to start.
“(Brown) and Schruth worked hard during the summer,” Hadway said. “It’s a huge improvement on their part.”
Sophomores Dan Weeks, Tyson Magney and Bill Tieraney are expected to race in the top six. The seventh spot, Hadway said, could be a tossup among eight runners.
Whatever happens, Hadway said Hawkins trained intensively during the summer and appears at his prime.
“Obviously, the state championship is one of his goals,” Hadway said. “But he’s being careful to avoid injuries.”
Tigers promote pack mentality
Morlan, LC’s distance coach the past six years, has grown accustomed to the Tigers’ method of bunching runners together. Without an elite No. 1, LC could continue that trend and still succeed.
The method works best at big meets.
LC finished sixth in the nine-team GSL last year but fifth at the 18-team regional meet.
“We have seven guys who can beat (an elite team’s) No. 5,” said Morlan, an ‘85 LC grad who blossomed as a runner after studying architecture at the University of Idaho.
Sophomore Joey Neuman is LC’s top returner after a 26th-place regional finish - the best among all freshman except for the 25th-place showing of Ferris’ Marshall.
Junior Nick Vollmer, a mediocre runner last year, has improved enough to run neck-and-neck with Neuman. Right behind those two is senior Nate Nelson, 36th at region.
Senior Dave Beegle also came a long way over the summer and is challenging junior Jason Rayson for the No. 4 spot. Junior Nate Bradley nursed a sore knee early in the season but was expected back.
Another junior, Cory Johnson, took a stab at football but rejoined the team Sept. 17.
Attempting to crack the top seven are junior Ben Harris, sophomore Noel Vaughn and freshman Ryan Haley.
Morlan served six years as a volunteer assistant for former coach Marty Robinette.
“I think a lot of my energy and motivation the last few years came from the high school kids,” Morlan said.
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