Team strengths: We have a lot of strengths this year.Our numbers are up. We have 7 runners from Valley, 6 from Raymond and 7 from South Bend. There are also four junior high Runners from Valley. We have a lot of quality in returning runners and some new members who show a lot of promise. Raymond Glover of Raymond HS, who went to state last year, went to camp this summer and seems to be stronger and faster. He will be followed closely by Ben Meade and Aaron deMontigney. Jessica Cook of Valley, who made it to state two years ago and missed it by one place last year, seems to have a lot of determination this year.Dominique Kudasik went to camp this year and is running with a lot of confidence.Out of South Bend, Jose Buccio and Koda Boothe lead the boys and freshman girl; Savannah Burbank also shows a lot of promise.The Valley girls have a full team and have a lot of quality in the squad. The South Bend Girls led by Diana Morales and Yessinia Perez also have a full girls’ team and may be pretty competitive after they get used to the distance.
Team weaknesses: Frankly the numbers are good this year and I have a lot of quality. Our weakness is only by comparison.This year our district is so competitive, there is no such thing as a guarantee. A lot of great teams and runners will not move on to the State Championships in Pasco. I am excited and anxious for them at the same time.
Team goals: Realistically I would like to get a boy and a girl from each of the three schools to State. The Valley girls have a chance as a team. Everyone is here to improve and make the most out of the season. Cross Country is a sport of personal bests and individual improvement.
League forecast: Only three girl’s teams and 15 individuals make it to state. And only four boy’s teams and 20 individuals make it to state. I see the girl’s teams ending up with Ocosta on top, followed by perennial powerhouse Northwest Christian and then Morton White Pass. Valley’s girls could be a dark horse spoiler in that mix.In the top 15, I look for Jessica Cook to make it in, but there are three or four girls from the harbor who could be on the bubble.
In the Boys, there are six good teams that will be battling it out for the four spots, but Northwest Christian’s Boys may be the team to beat. Raymond Glover may be the top local boy, but I can see five other boys right there trying to get in.This will be an interesting season to watch unfold.