Oak Harbor cross country | Fall prep preview

Coming off one of its best seasons in school history, the Oak Harbor cross country team is shooting for that level again in 2011.

The girls and boys teams qualified for the state meet last fall, only the second time both earned state berths the same year. The girls finished a school-best third; the boys placed 16th.

Back from the girls state team are Christina Wicker, Hannah Bressler, Alexandra Laiblin, Taylor VonGrey and Heather Dale.

Wicker was a first-team, all-Wesco choice in 2010 and finished 25th at state; Bressler and Laiblin were second team.

Other returning letter winners include Carlie Kenny, Mackenzie Jackson and Emily Bain.

Key newcomers to the girls team, according to coach Eric Peterson, are junior Ashley Everett and freshman Jocelyn Horn.

The girls are long on experience but short on depth, according to Peterson.

He said, “With a third-place finish last year at state, these girls have seen some great competition and know what it takes to win. They should be able to draw on this experience and use it to help acclimate the newcomers.”

The boys finished fifth in the Western Conference meet last fall and then a surprising third at district to grab a spot in the state meet.

Back are first-team all-league member senior Matt Reith and all-league honorable mention choice sophomore Caley Powers. Reith placed 19th in the state meet.

Also returning are lettermen John Kaltenbach, Josh Schrum, Wyatt Homola, Clay Richardson, Thomas Honeycutt, Adriel Eckart and Chris Opdyke.

Top newcomers, Peterson said, are sophomore Esai Cunningham and freshmen John Rodeheffer and Dakota Powers.

Peterson said, “The boys strong point is depth. Returning five of our top seven runners from last year’s state team, adding a great track season last spring, as well as some great new talent...the guys should be pretty strong.”

The path to state will be tougher this year as only two teams from District 1 qualify for the state meet; three went last year.

Peterson said his expectations “for both teams this year is to run well at the district meet in hopes of securing one of the two state berths.”

The top competition for the girls in Wesco will be defending state champion and nationally ranked Glacier Peak and Shorewood, Peterson said. GP and Everett should supply the toughest competition for the boys.

The Wildcats journey to Civic Stadium in Bellingham Saturday, Sept. 10, to start the season at the Sehome Invitational at 10:25 a.m.

The lone home meet is Thursday, Sept. 22, at 3:45 with Monroe, Kamiak and Cascade.

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