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Young leaders to push hard on Red Wolves cross country
Bruce McDowell, helming the Cedarcrest trekkers for the 18th year, seeks a continuation of greatness: championships in conference and districts and a state return.
Last fall was good for the Red Wolves Cross Country squads. The girls claimed a Cascade Conference Championship for the third consecutive season, taking ninth at state.
The boys also had a quality season. It was the first time that the Red Wolf boys qualified for state, taking sixth and ending as the Cascade Conference Champions. Cedarcrest should compete with Lakewood for top honors in the league this season.
Expected to lead the girls this fall, sophomores Diana Carr and Amelia Anderson had solid freshman years in cross country and track, followed by a solid summer of training. McDowell is looking for good things from both.
Junior Molly Hammontree returns as a captain. Among upperclasswomen, some seniors may break into the top nine, but only time will tell, says McDowell.
The Cascade girls league is balanced on top, with Cedarcrest competing with South Whidbey, King's and Lakewood for the championship.
Among boys, no newcomers are likely to challenge the varsity group of returners. Looking likely to claim the top four spots are seniors Mitch Montgomery and Logan Orndorf, and juniors Cody Wanichek and Dominic Dams.
Montgomery and senior Dante Bournique are captains. Both have been dependable members of the squad for the past three years. They're two of the hardest workers on the team, McDowell said.
The coach wants to see everyone improve their times while still having fun.
"Run to the best of your ability and everything else will work out," said McDowell. The team is a family. "That is the driving force behind our unity," he said.
Assistant Dean Vergillo is in his fifth season with the Red Wolves. He brings technical know-how to training, and has great enthusiasm for the sport and the team, McDowell said.
Achieving college success are former runners Hayden Teachout, a sophomore at Morehead State University; Josh Denison, a freshman at Ohio Wesleyan University; and Chad Linnerooth, a freshman at Linfield College. From the girls, Missy Dowd is a sophomore at Lipscomb University, Cara Strodel is a freshman at Boise State, and Glynis Bawden is a freshman at the University of Puget Sound.
Mitch Montgomery will provide leadership from the top-four varsity boys running crew at Cedarcrest High School.
"I run because I enjoy it," said the senior says. "I love the competitive aspect, the feeling of finishing and having a good race.
Coming up on an opponent,"I get a lot of determination to get past them. It helps me stay motivated."
He wants to see the team beat Lakewood to take the conference championship, beat Seahome in a north-area challenge, and claim the top three at districts to get to state. His personal goal is to get a sub-16-minute time. "To place on the podium at state would be pretty big," Montgomery said.
"Just always know you're going to be getting better and better," he tells teammates. "You've always got a shot at going to state with this team."
Five times will be the charm for junior Molly Hammontree, a cross-country runner hoping to represent her team at state again this year.
"This will be the fifth time for the team," she said, and although she's gone twice herself, she plans on making this trip a first.
"For the past two years, I've been selected as an alternate, but this year, I really want to go as a participant," she said.
Hammontree is ready for the hard work she knows that will take, though, and she encourages newcomers to the sport. Yes, it's hard work at first, and she will be sore, "but once you're into shape, it's actually really enjoyable to run with people, and we have a great team."
You can follow the Cedarcrest runners at http://www.chs.riverview.wednet.edu/XC%20Page/cross.htm.