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Saturday, January 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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NWPN’s 2015 Cross Country preview

GSL boys

In the North Central boys’ string of nine straight state championships, the Indians have had just two individual champions – Ben Johnston and Tanner Anderson twice. Senior Justin Janke will certainly challenge this fall but NC is shaping up like most of the NC teams the past decade – deep and tightly packed. “We need some growth from the middle of our pack,” NC coach Jon Knight said. NC, ranked No. 1 in the coaches’ preseason rankings, has won 47 straight duals. … Mt. Spokane pushed NC last year, finishing runner-up in league. University finished third and Central Valley was fourth. With the graduation of John Dressel, Mt. Spokane will likely slip a spot or two. The Wildcats bring back junior Hayden Dressel, who took 10th and is the highest returning state placer in the GSL. … Knight expects U-Hi and CV to be in the mix. … Central Valley lost five to graduation, but coach Kieran Mahoney says “we are young but talented.” Mahoney also sees Mead and Lewis and Clark fighting for a top-half finish. … University, ranked fourth in the coaches’ preseason poll, returns seniors Hunter Simpson (22nd at state last year) and Isaac Barville (28th). … Lewis and Clark is led by junior Zak Kindl (32nd). … Four years ago Rogers had four out for cross country. This season the Pirates have 35 led by senior Roberto Lopez.

GSL girls

CV coach Dennis McGuire brings back his entire starting lineup – a group that finished sixth at state but had higher aspirations. Senior Briegan Bester (43rd) was the highest finishing Bear, followed three spots back by junior Ashley Beard. “We happened to have our best race at regionals,” McGuire said. … LC should be right on CV’s heels. The Tigers had the two highest GSL finishers in sophomores Katie Thronson (17th) and Abby Smith (28th). “We will be in the hunt for Bears and Wildcats (Mt. Spokane),” LC coach Kevin Swaim wrote on his questionnaire. … CV and LC were ranked sixth and ninth, respectively, in the coaches’ poll this week. … Mt. Spokane, ranked fifth in the preseason poll, finished second and LC took third last year in league. … Mt. Spokane took fifth at the State 3A meet, led by senior Micaela Kostecka, who took fifth. Junior Ava Figon (31st) also returns. … Shadle Park is led by junior Ashley Hauger, who finished 13th at state. … NC returns state qualifier, Maya Pardue, a senior who finished 44th. … Mead brings back six of its seven from a year ago.

GNL boys

East Valley rode the shoulders of state champion Chad Stevens and Scott Kopczynski (third) to fourth at state. The Knights return four off their state team, led by senior Josiah Poler. … Pullman took ninth and returns five led by the highest returning GNL runner, junior Tim Pendry (44th). The Greyhounds were ranked sixth in the coaches’ preseason poll. … West Valley won the league title but had a disappointing postseason, failing to qualify for state. The Eagles are led by junior Jacob Nicholson. … Cheney will rely on a strong junior class with no returning state qualifiers.

GNL girls

Pullman took fourth and Cheney was ninth at state last year. Both were ranked ninth and 10th respectively in the coaches’ preseason poll. … The top returning GNL state qualifier is EV senior Brittany Aquino, who took third and is eyeing a state title this fall. The Knights return their team intact. They also have a transfer, Bailey Shea from Elko, Nevada, and coach JoAnne Cook is especially high on her. … Pullman’s top returners are sophomores Elyria Kabasenche (21st) and Hannah Spakousky (24th). The Greyhounds – league, district and regional champs last year – return two others in the top 31. … WV had a breakthrough season last year, fielding its first full team in some time.

NEA boys

Graduation hit reigning state champ Medical Lake. Riverside took third last year. Medical Lake and Riverside swapped spots in the coaches’ preseason rankings. … The rankings seem out of whack if you listen to Riverside coach Dusty Patrick, who is calling this a rebuilding year. Riverside returns the highest NEA finisher in sophomore Ben Shaw (9th). … Medical Lake reports deep sophomore and freshmen classes. Medical Lake’s top returners are sophomore Mason Williams (11th) and senior Jacob Dingfield (15th). … Deer Park is led by junior Kody Turner (20th). … TJ Baun, Ben Elliott, Morgan Hall and Ryley Smith lead Colville.

NEA girls

State power Lakeside, ranked first in the coaches’ preseason poll, is expected to pick up where it left off. Lakeside returns junior Lindsey Jacobson (5th), the top finishing NEA runner from state, along with sophomore Sabina Crooks (16th). Mikayla Shuler is eligible after sitting out last year after transferring from Riverside. … Riverside was ranked fifth in the preseason poll. The Rams are led by junior Alice Burchett (11th). … Leading Medical Lake is junior Mariah Pena (12th). … Freeman returns two who finished in the top 16 at state – junior Alyssa Zimmerman (9th) and senior Tati Foster (14th). … Colville is led by Kristina Mikheyeva. … Junior Moriah Duenich of Deer Park took sixth at state.

2B/1B

The Northwest Christian boys and St. George’s girls were second, respectively, at state. … Junior Jack Ammon led NWC, finishing third. … Seniors Nathan Hopkins of Davenport and Nathan Vanos of St. George’s were 11th and 12th, respectively. … Junior Madison Ward (2nd) and senior Marika Morelan (3rd) led the St. George’s girls last year. … Junior Shania Graham (6th) returns for Republic.

Idaho

The Coeur d’Alene girls suffered some key losses after a third straight state title, but coach Cathy Compton is optimistic that a fourth consecutive title is within reach. CdA welcomes back senior Emily Callahan, who placed third as a sophomore despite severe stress fractures. She took last year off. Also back senior Carmen Duffy, juniors Caitlin Conway and Merceydes Smith and sophomores Riley Fowler and Ciera Bailey. … Post Falls returns sophomore Ida Mae Grahlman, a state qualifier. … Lake City expects big improvement from a year ago. … Sandpoint’s girls captured the State 4A title and return sophomore Sharon Rowe (14th) and junior Rainey Woodward (17th). … In 3A, Timberlake returns six of seven state qualifiers who led the Tigers to third. They’re led by two-time state medalists Kassidy Hammond and Taylor Hammond. … In the boys, Lewiston brings back junior Austin Byrer (18th), the top returning area male runner. … LC brings back experience in seniors Max Evans, Zach Holbrook, Connor Wilson, Alex Ayers and Travis McDowell. … CdA’s top returners are juniors Alex Walde and Zac Magee. … Timberlake is led by two-time state medalist Brayden Menti.

Greg Lee

GSL boys predicted finish7. Ferris
1. North Central4. Central Valley8. Gonzaga Prep
2. University5. Mead9. Shadle Park
3. Mt. Spokane6. Lewis and Clark10. Rogers
GSL girls7. Gonzaga Prep
1. Central Valley4. Mead8. North Central
2. Lewis and Clark5. Ferris9. University
3. Mt. Spokane6. Shadle Park10. Rogers
GNL boys2. West Valley4. Cheney
1. Pullman3. East Valley5. Clarkston
GNL girls2. East Valley4. West Valley
1. Pullman3. Cheney5. Clarkston
NEA boys3. Deer Park6. Freeman
1. Medical Lake4. Colville7. Newport
2. Riverside5. Lakeside8. Chewelah
NEA girls3. Freeman6. Colville
1. Lakeside4. Deer Park7. Newport
2. Riverside5. Medical Lake8. Chewelah

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