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High hopes for area running teams

Led by senior Breanne Mitchell, who finished 10th at the state championships last year, Bear River’s girls’ cross country team looks poised for another strong season.

“I think they look great,” said head coach Chris Davis. “We could challenge a little more this year.”

Mitchell already has set a blistering pace this season, finishing first in the team’s first three meets. Davis said she could win at this year’s Pioneer Valley League meet.



“Breanne might be the top of the league this year,” Davis said.

The team’s top three runners also include Seaera Moe and Harla Moe, Davis said. Elizabeth Boyer and Chelsea Andrews are doing well also, he added.




Placer will be a strong team in the PVL, a squad that has more depth than Bear River, Davis said. Colfax will be another good team, but it lacks the depth of the likes of a Placer.

The girls team lost Abby Grebe and Taylor Kimble to graduation.

Last year, the team won the subsection meet in its division and then came in second in the section.

Some teams held back in last year’s subsection meet, Davis said.

He said he it wasn’t exactly a true reflection of where his team stood.

“If you’re not careful, you’ll get a false sense of your placement (from the subsection meet),” he added.

The Bruins boys’ team is led by Jordan Halleib, but it’s tough to predict who will follow after that, Davis said.

Senior Eric LaPlante was injured a little bit last year, but he’s healthy and could have a good season, Davis said. Also, sophomore Alex Coffman, freshman Gerry Williams, and juniors Richard Young and Cameron Cornjo will fit into the mix of top runners on the team, he added.

“We’ve got talent, but I just don’t know where it fits in the league,” Davis said.

The boys team lost its top runner from 2009, Shawndar Johal, to graduation.

Senior Simon Lambert did well in the local Grand Prix road races this summer and is expected to lead the boys’ team this year, said head coach Gene Gilligan.

Seniors Thomas McAtee and Sam Asher also should be up near the top of Miners runners, Gilligan said. McAtee has had some health issues the past couple years with serious cases of the flu, but should be back strong this year, Gilligan said.

Juniors Dominic Castro-Wehr and Parker Scanlon are solely cross country runners this year after splitting time between soccer and cross country last year, Gilligan said.

Sophomore Kael Newton is going to be “great,” Gilligan said. Senior Joey Rodrigues is another hard worker, he added.

“We seem to have five, six or seven runners running very close,” Gilligan said. Yet the team doesn’t have someone who has gone out and won a race, he said.

“It’s a strong unit,” Gilligan said. “They talk to each other and encourage each other.”

But Gilligan said he wasn’t in the prediction business.

“I don’t want to predict because I don’t want to jinx anything.”

Key meets include Saturday’s Nevada Union Invitational and the league championships Oct. 29 at William Jessup University in Rocklin.

The Miners lost Scott Valentine, who won the school’s Albert Ali Outstanding Athlete award, to graduation.

Fourteen new cross country runners are bringing more excitement to an experienced crew of top runners, said head coach Sara Freitas.

Sara Marshall, Peggy McBride-Henslee, Jessica Boutte, Katelyn McGee and newcomer Lauren Arnett look to round out the top five strongest competitors, Freitas said. Juniors Holly Voboril and Lizzette Gutierrez, along with seniors Anina Lawrence and Annie Creasey will help on varsity as well, she added.

A home meet this Saturday, the Artichoke Invitational, Oct. 2 in Half Moon Bay and the section meet in Folsom Nov. 13 should be key tests for the team, Freitas said.

“It’s too early to tell (how good other teams are in the league),” Freitas said. “A lot of it depends on who has graduated.”

Six freshman are on this year’s NU team.

Increasing numbers of junior high cross country programs and simple word of mouth are likely reasons for this year’s bolstered numbers, Freitas said.

“Some of them just love to run,” Freitas said.

The girls’ team lost Christine Weir to graduation.

Contact Sports Writer Greg Moberly via e-mail at gmoberly@theunion.com or by phone at 477-4234.


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