Preview: Cross Country
Spokane has a reputation to uphold after Central Valley won State 4A for the first time and 3A North Central, its seventh straight. With three varsity runners back NC must get help. “We’re kind of young and have to keep Kai (Wilmot) healthy,” coach Jon Knight said. “I have high hopes.” … Four of the top seven 3A state finishers were from Spokane and all are back – runner-up John Dressel of state sixth-place Mt. Spokane, who beat Wilmot Sept. 7 at the Tracy Walters Invitational; third-place Tanner Anderson from NC, Shadle Park’s Nick Hauger fourth, and NC’s Oliver Reed, seventh. … The Wildcats return four veterans, two of them sophomores and will contend. … CV, with six returnees and a dominant effort at the Highlander Invitational, seeks a state title repeat, but it will be tough. Gig Harbor has added two top flight transfers. In all, 17 GSL state veterans return.
Take your pick, says Shadle Park coach Bob Isitt. Any of four teams could win the GSL. A year ago none finished undefeated and the top four – CV, Gonzaga Prep, Mt. Spokane and LC – were separated by a single race. “Mt Spokane can win it all, Gonzaga should be awfully good,” Isitt said. The freshmen-sophomore oriented Wildcats took sixth in the State 3A state race and the young Bullpups made their first 4A trip placing 11th. “Last year was pretty special here,” said coach Stephen Manfred. “It was a really big deal for our girls.” Five are back. The Wildcats also return five runners led by ninth-place finisher Makenna Endebrock. Shadle state vets Lauren Dunnell and Gabi Gomez-Wint, were top-28 state placers. Eighteen state veterans return.
Last fall Deer Park won a fourth-place trophy at the State 2A race with Cheney finishing fifth. Could the tables turn this year? The Blackhawks bring back four runners and the Stags three. If scored as a dual right now based on state times, Cheney has an edge. “Our boys have more experience,” said coach Jay Martin “Deer Park has won the league and placed at state, EV always has a few strong kids and WV has a crew of young ones.” … Top-three state returnees come from three different GNL schools. … East Valley’s Scott Kopczynski placed 12th as a sophomore, Kevin Carpenter from Colville was 14th and Skylar Ovnicek, took 19th as a sophomore. All three have new coaches. Ty Brown has moved from Colville to WV. Andrew Walker who competed at Gonzaga, takes over at EV.
With six runners back from a 10th-place State 2A finish, Deer Park is the logical choice to repeat as league champions. Coach Wes Player offers this caveat: “We do have our top six back and we do have several who are challenging those. The only trouble is, now we have a ton of injuries.” His surprise pick for second place is Pullman over Cheney (I’ll give you the old ‘We are young’ and leave it at that,” said Martin, despite returning four scorers from its 11th-place state finish.) “Pullman is going to be good,” Player said. “They had some bad injuries last year.” … Like the boys, the best returning girls come from other schools. The Knights’ Brittany Aquino was third in state as a freshman and West Valley’s McCall Skay was sixth as a sophomore.
It’s seldom that a school would bring home two second-place state cross country trophies and be disappointed. But Lakeside coach Steve Olson was. The Eagles have won six boys state titles and had two seconds. The girls have been first and second. The boys fell just three points short in the boys race. … The Eagles and Medical Lake, which finished third at state with four sophomores, will do battle again. Lakeside also returns four state veterans. … “Lakeside’s a little stronger than last year and we’re a lot stronger,” Cardinals fourth-year coach Gene Blankenship said. … Lakeside’s Ryan Coffman finished sixth in state last year. Medical Lake’s Micah Dingield was 10th.
The Eagles lost by eight points at state to NEA foe Riverside. Both return four state runners, all of them still young. “We always believe that we have a chance,” coach Tim Hart said when asked if the Rams can repeat. … He gives the nod in league to Lakeside. … Eagle Lindy Jacobson took fourth in state, Ram Mikala Shuler was ninth.
Northwest Christian returns most of its lineup from last year’s state runner-up – four of them finishing among the top 30. Alex Wallat led the way with a sixth-place finish and Jack Ammon won the freshman race at the Highlander. St. George’s Hunter Olsen was 10th in state. … Four area girls teams placed among the top eight.
|GSL boys predicted order of finish||7. Ferris|
|1. North Central||4. University||8. Gonzaga Prep|
|2. Central Valley||5. Lewis and Clark||9. Shadle Park|
|3. Mt. Spokane||6. Mead||10. Rogers|
|GSL girls||4. Lewis and Clark||8. North Central|
|1. Central Valley||5. University||9. Ferris|
|2. Mt. Spokane||6. Shadle Park||10. Rogers|
|3. Gonzaga Prep||7. Mead|
|GNL boys||3. East Valley||6. Pullman|
|1. Deer Park||4. West Valley||7. Clarkston|
|2. Cheney||5. Colville|
|GNL girls||3. Cheney||6. Clarkston|
|1. Deer Park||4. East Valley||7. Colville|
|2. Pullman||5. West Valley|
|NEA boys||3. Riverside||6. Chewelah|
|1. Lakeside||4. Freeman||7. Kettle Falls|
|2. Medical Lake||5. Newport|
|NEA girls||3. Medical Lake||6. Newport|
|1. Lakeside||4. Freeman||7. Kettle Falls|
|2. Riverside||5. Chewelah|