September 19, 1996 in Sports

Saxons Runners Start From The Top Hawkins, Smith Expect To Go Out As Champions

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The similarities between Isaac Hawkins and Jennifer Smith are striking, yet one matter should set them apart this cross country season.

Hawkins and Smith are both seniors at Ferris High, both team captains, both defending State AAA 3,200-meter champions and both defending Region IV cross country champions.

Both of their Ferris teams were also ranked No. 2 among State AAA teams in a preseason coaches poll, but that could prove misleading.

Among those returning to bolster Smith’s team are sophomore Jill Johnson, fourth at region and eighth at state last year, and Emily Hawkins (Isaac’s sister), ninth at region and 19th at state.

The Ferris boys, on the other hand, graduated state runner-up Paul Harkins and fifth-place finisher Dave Schruth, then lost two runners who figured to help push Hawkins this year. Dana Harper, 44th at state as a junior, and T.J. Marshall, 48th as a freshman, didn’t turn out.

So chasing Hawkins, who won last year’s state crown, will be senior Andy Brown, 76th at state, and junior Dan Schruth, 105th at state. Hawkins said his teammates have improved and he’s not concerned about the change in status for a team that last year ended Mead’s string of seven straight district/region titles.

“Throughout high school I’ve always had somebody beating me or pushing me,” Hawkins said. “But you have guys in the league you can mentally picture (racing you), or guys across the nation. It’s not like I don’t have any guys to beat.”

The Ferris girls might be considered the state’s top team now because defending state champ and preseason No. 1 Snohomish lost to Eisenhower at last Saturday’s Shoreline Invitational.

Still, Smith’s goals may shift slightly to individual aspects as she starts planning a college career.

“The team doesn’t really get together and talk goals,” Smith said. “It’s early, so we haven’t done anything about that yet.”

To train over the summer, the Ferris seniors sought out respected elders. Hawkins ran with new Lewis and Clark coach Chris Morlan, who competed at the Olympic Trials in the marathon. Smith logged miles with ex-Ferris star Shelley Zickler, now at Butler University, and ex-Rogers stalwart Jessica Fry, who just transferred to Stanford.

“(Morlan) was working on his speed this year,” Hawkins said. “I’d run sessions with him and he’d kick my butt. But I realized that he’s a guy that, even if I get my butt kicked, I’d get better.”

Smith and Hawkins are talented enough to look beyond league and state competitions to the Foot Locker national championships in December.

“But I don’t think anyone takes state for granted,” Hawkins said. “Foot Locker is a bigger goal, but I want to do well at state again.”

“I try to be humble about it,” Smith said. “I just want to peak for the last few months of the year.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: GSL CROSS COUNTRY Information on Greater Spokane League cross country, which begins Wednesday at three sites:

Boys Defending league champion: Mead Defending region champion: Ferris Defending state champion: Mead (eight consecutive) Top returners: Isaac Hawkins, Ferris (defending regional and state champ); Jason Fayant and Morgan Thompson, Mead; Cameron Hatch, Rogers; Jim Rucker, Gonzaga Prep; Jon Caballero and Justin Hill, North Central; Casey Perry, Shadle Park; Rob Warnock, Central Valley; James Berry and T.J. Sulzle, University. (Sulzle is recovering from an injury.) Changes: The regional meet will be at Richland instead of Hangman Valley Golf Course. New coach: Chris Morlan, Lewis and Clark Predicted finish: Mead, U-Hi, G-Prep, Ferris, NC, LC, Rogers, Shadle, CV Openers: LC and G-Prep at Ferris; NC, CV and Rogers at Audubon; Mead, U-Hi and Shadle at Whitworth

Girls Defending league champion: Ferris Defending region champion: Ferris State placers: Ferris third, University fourth Top returners: Jennifer Smith (regional champ), Jill Johnson and Emily Hawkins, Ferris; Taraka Campbell and Kelly Kearsley, U-Hi; Katie Pollock, Mead; Jamie Rosenquist, Lewis and Clark; Tiffany Steele and Christa Eide, Shadle Park; Anne Peterson, Central Valley. Welcome addition: Junior Jamie Borgan, who advanced to the state track meet as a freshman, turned out at LC for the first time. LC needs the boost because top returner Rosenquist is recovering from a leg injury. New coach: Shaney Redmon, Rogers Predicted finish: Ferris, U-Hi, Mead, LC, Shadle, CV, Gonzaga Prep, North Central, Rogers Openers: LC and G-Prep at Ferris; NC, CV and Rogers at Audubon; Mead, U-Hi and Shadle at Whitworth

This sidebar appeared with the story: GSL CROSS COUNTRY Information on Greater Spokane League cross country, which begins Wednesday at three sites:

Boys Defending league champion: Mead Defending region champion: Ferris Defending state champion: Mead (eight consecutive) Top returners: Isaac Hawkins, Ferris (defending regional and state champ); Jason Fayant and Morgan Thompson, Mead; Cameron Hatch, Rogers; Jim Rucker, Gonzaga Prep; Jon Caballero and Justin Hill, North Central; Casey Perry, Shadle Park; Rob Warnock, Central Valley; James Berry and T.J. Sulzle, University. (Sulzle is recovering from an injury.) Changes: The regional meet will be at Richland instead of Hangman Valley Golf Course. New coach: Chris Morlan, Lewis and Clark Predicted finish: Mead, U-Hi, G-Prep, Ferris, NC, LC, Rogers, Shadle, CV Openers: LC and G-Prep at Ferris; NC, CV and Rogers at Audubon; Mead, U-Hi and Shadle at Whitworth

Girls Defending league champion: Ferris Defending region champion: Ferris State placers: Ferris third, University fourth Top returners: Jennifer Smith (regional champ), Jill Johnson and Emily Hawkins, Ferris; Taraka Campbell and Kelly Kearsley, U-Hi; Katie Pollock, Mead; Jamie Rosenquist, Lewis and Clark; Tiffany Steele and Christa Eide, Shadle Park; Anne Peterson, Central Valley. Welcome addition: Junior Jamie Borgan, who advanced to the state track meet as a freshman, turned out at LC for the first time. LC needs the boost because top returner Rosenquist is recovering from a leg injury. New coach: Shaney Redmon, Rogers Predicted finish: Ferris, U-Hi, Mead, LC, Shadle, CV, Gonzaga Prep, North Central, Rogers Openers: LC and G-Prep at Ferris; NC, CV and Rogers at Audubon; Mead, U-Hi and Shadle at Whitworth


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