Valley Catholics girls may have a chance to win it all in 2012

BEAVERTON — The Valley Catholic boys cross country team made history last year.

The Valiants won the District 1 championship in dominant fashion, then stepped up their game even further at state, winning the Class 3A title for the first time in school history.

While Valley Catholic is reloading for the 2012 season, the Valiants still think they'll be able to make some noise.

“It is our goal each year to win a berth to state, and although we are reloading with a new crew, I think if we train hard and come together as a team, (we'll) have a shot at a state berth,” said Valley Catholic coach Tommy Manning.

PRIMED FOR 2012 - Valley Catholic senior Cooper Roach hopes to lift his team to even more success in the 2012 season.

This year's team will be led by junior Cooper Roach — the lone returner from VC's district and state championship squad — a runner who placed fifth at district and 12th at state a year ago.

“I think he should contend for a top-two finish at district,” Manning said. “He ended the season as one of our top three runners last season and has a lot of promise this season.”

He'll be joined in the lineup this year by sophomore Wilder Boyden and juniors Michael Leslie, Sean Hilken, Chris Wright and Nathaniel Trobough.

“Boyden also holds a lot of promise,” Manning said, adding that he believes Hilken and Wright are “both ready to step up and be top-five runners.”

District 1 looks tough as ever, Manning said, with Catlin Gabel, Oregon Episcopal and Rainier all challenging for state berths.

“Although we lost six runners front last year’s state championship team, I think we will still have a shot at finishing top two or three at district,” Manning added.

Valley Catholic Girls

District 1 proved itself as one of the best in Class 3A girls cross country last year, and Valley Catholic proved itself as one of District 1's best.

That will likely be unchanged in 2012.

Valley Catholic brings back six of its seven varsity runners from last season's District 1 champion, that group led by seniors Josephine Chau (second at district and 32nd at state) and Sophia Chau (third at district, 21st at state), by juniors Annika Holstrom (fourth/19th), Grace Mannen (11th/54th) and Morgan McDougal (13th/73rd), and sophomore Fiona Walker (19th/85th).

“Josephine and Sophia Chau lead our team by example,” said Valley Catholic coach Eric Berge. “They both work very hard and will be in the mix for a district title.”

Other runners in the varsity lineup will be talented freshman Maricela Jaroch, junior Karina Jaroch, senior Kaitlyn Lomartire and sophomore Hailey Moraes.

“Maricela Jaroch is a talented newcomer and a real competitor,” Berge said. “She will be one of the top runners in the state this fall.”

Still, the Valiants know there will be challenges ahead in District 1, especially from 2011 runner-up Catlin Gabel, a team that went on to finish second at state while VC placed sixth.

“We have a nice mix of returning runners and newcomers,” Berge added. “If we can keep everyone healthy, we will have a very competitive team.”

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