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Young CC cross country teams looking to improve with age

Harriers had only one upperclassmen on roster this season

by: LORI KIMBEL/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Tiffany Curtis is one of many underclassmen returning for Crook County next year.

There is an advantage to having no upperclassmen on your rosters.
   Come graduation, your team stays pretty much intact.
   "Usually I have to hand out senior awards," said cross country coach Tracy Smith. "I didn't have to do that this year."
   With only one junior on its boys and girls teams combined, the young Crook County cross country teams raced to eighth and seventh places finishes, respectively this year in the Intermountain Conference standings.
   What they lacked in experience, however, the harriers made up for with heart and Smith sees good things on the horizon.
   "Considering being as young as we were, I am pretty encouraged," he said. "I think they did really well being such a young team."
   Smith points to the October 9th Bend Puma Classic as a highlight of the season. For the first time in his tenure as coach, the girls side was able overtake host Bend High.
   "It was really exiting to beat Bend, I think all the girls had their best times up to that point," Smith said. "They all seemed to really enjoy the meet."
   On the girls side soccer player Michelly Foley led the charge finishing 12 at the district meet this year as only a freshman. Foley, who didn't even practice with the cross country team this year, is planning on running full time next season. She was named the girls most valuable runner.
   "She should have been most inspirational," Smith said. "The kids couldn't figure out how she could come off the soccer field and run so well."
   Siara Warren, who PRed twice was named the girls' most improved runner and Smith singled out Maureen O'Doherty as an emerging leader.
   "She has the attitude and charisma that causes kids to want to be excited about the sport," he said. "Because she was excited about it."
   On the boys side, sophomore Tucker Mottl finished as the top runner and Smith said it was because he worked harder than anyone else.
   "He didn't lead by words, he led by example," he said. "He's got the work ethic to be a top notch runner."
   Three Cowboys won the team's most improved award with David Lynch, Austin Morrell and Josh McDonald snatching the honor.
   Smith cited that both teams were pretty balanced and views this as great advantage in the upcoming seasons.
   "One of the things that is going to make our team really good is that there are no real standouts," he said. "The competition for being No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 is going to make them better. Everyone is going to have to fight to get their spot."