Fall preview: Cross country

The Oak Harbor High School boys cross country team is young but experienced and the girls team returns the core of last year’s state-qualifying squad as the Wildcats head into the 2010 season.

The Wildcat boys return six key members from last year, all underclassmen: Matt Reith, Thomas Honeycutt, Wyatt Homola, John Kaltenback, Mitchell Jackson and Chris Opdyke.

Junior Reith was second-team all-Wesco last year and qualified for the state meet.

Head coach Eric Peterson said key newcomers Caley Powers, Michael Kincy, Clayton Richardson and Brendan Bristow, along with “a mass of others,” should help Oak Harbor to “a great season ahead.”

The girls bring back Adrianna Royal, Allison Duvenez, Abigail Leete, Christina Wicker, Taylor VonGrey, Emily Bain and Heather Dale. Wicker, however, has been on vacation and is not an “official” team member yet, according to Peterson. He said she is expected to turnout.

Royal placed 59th at state last year, tops among the six Oak Harbor runners in the meet.

Peterson said the Wildcats have a shot at getting back to state this year and will be helped by the addition of key newcomers junior Hannah Bressler and freshmen Olivia Meyer and Alex Laiblin.

Peterson said, “This group has some of the hardest kids I’ve ever seen, so the season should be really rewarding.”

Coupeville’s Tyler King, who placed fifth in the state 4A race last year running for Oak Harbor because the Wolves do not have cross country program, will continue to train and travel with the Wildcats. However, in the post season, he will now run for Coupeville and not OHHS. King’s fifth-place state time last year would have won the 1A race, Coupeville’s classification. This switch is a result of Oak Harbor’s move from 4A to 3A.

The Wildcats start the season at the Sehome Invitational at Bellingham’s Civic Stadium Saturday, Sept. 11, at 10:25 a.m.

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