Cross country teams ready to cover ground

DOS PUEBLOS

COACH: Leslie Wiggins

SEASON OUTLOOK:  With a record 108 students turning out for cross country this year, Wiggins will certainly have her hands full. Luckily for her, she has seven assistant coaches helping her get the squad ready for its first league meet on Sept. 24 at Dos Pueblos. The four captains, seniors Chris Braden, Luke Seale, Sarah Allen Jepkes and junior Alexa Canova-Parker, should provide plenty of leadership for a team that lost only three runners from last season. Other key athletes include sophomores Sophie Pollack, Kelly Kosmo, Emily Foster and Erin Campbell on the girls side and seniors Raymond Trujillo, Matt Bailey, Ricardo Flores and sophomore Sergei Sushchikh for the boys. Wiggins is also excited for the 40th annual DP Invitational on October 10 at Shoreline Park where community members are also encouraged to compete.

SAN MARCOS

COACH: Lawrence Stehmeier

SEASON OUTLOOK: While the boys team returns only three runners, coach Stehmeier says some there are some very promising runners from last year’s junior varsity poised to step up and make a contribution. The core of the boys team will be made up of mostly sophomores and juniors, led by junior Evan Bradford and senior Jansen Dahill. The girls are a bit more seasoned with three seniors in leading roles. Kalley Ridgway, Kate Bowdle and Sarah Terry join underclassmen Jenny Haden and Kimberly Sanchez as returners, and they’re going to get some help from track veterans Danielle Gemberling and Elysia Hodges. Jacob Lebell also returns for the boys and they have several newcomers to look out for: Philip David, Joaquin Solorzano, Brett Stormoen, Luc Cotter and Matthew Roberts.

SANTA BARBARA

COACH: Olivia Perdices

SEASON OUTLOOK: Coach Perdices looks to have another strong team, despite the loss of last year’s Channel League-champion Krista Drechsler, who will be running at UC Davis this year. Perdices says she has at least 10 girls who could be in the top-7 at any time, which helps because it forces them to push each other while working out. The boys return two top performers from last season, Martin Hutchinson and Kevin Kirchhoff. Hutchinson, a four-year letterman, has been named captain. Seniors Carli Ruskauff and Geena Boscacci are captains for the girls, who, like the boys, are working hard towards making CIF. Junior returners Ana Cowgill and Corey Radis have been training all summer long and should be top performers for the Dons.

LAGUNA BLANCA

COACH: Bob Lunn

SEASON OUTLOOK: After a highly successful season last year when the Owls qualified for the CIF final for the first time in school history, cross country is all the rage in Hope Ranch. Coach Lunn has a team of 30 runners, more than double the number of any other season. The boys return four of their top five performers from last season, including state-championship qualifier Kevin Lunn, and the girls didn’t lose anyone from their top quintet. Lunn will get some help from Parker Lilly, Zach Campbell and Jeffrey Schultz.

CATE

COACH: Karl Weis

SEASON OUTLOOK: Cate’s girls team has won six consecutive Condor League titles and Weis believes it has a good chance to tack on a seventh. Junior Mackenzie Walsh, who finished second individually in league last season, leads a squad that will get key contributions from seniors Cascade Zak and Guadalupe Ortega. Other returners include juniors Julie Hassman, Lexi Greenwald and Tori Donovan. On the boys side, Weis hopes to improve on last season’s third-place showing in league even though they lost several runners to graduation. Juniors Joe Gottwald, Mark Mullan, and sophomores Jason Park, Michael Hassman, and Spencer McAvoy will be counted on to perform in the fall’s big meets: Ojai Invitational, a Condor League meet on the mesa on Oct. 8 and the league finals on Nov. 5.

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