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La Salle moves up to Class 5A, but the Falcons still plan on making some waves in cross country

Photo Credit: JOHN DENNY - Cross Country is popular at La Salle Prep. As of last week La Salle had 80 athletes out for the sport, and La Salle cross country coach Tyrone Stammers anticipated that the turnout will exceed last years record turnout once school gets underway. The Falcons this year have moved up from the Class 4A to the Class 5A classification, but returning lettermen from their boys team still believe they can earn a spot on the podium at this years Class 5A state meet. Standing in the foreground in the above photo are returnees from last years Class 4A state championship boys team (left to right) Truman Rae, Sean Richardson, Nathan Tamashiro and Jason Rae.La Salle Prep distance runners were state champions in Class 4A high school boys cross country last fall; La Salle Prep girls were state champions in Class 4A girls cross country two years ago.

The Falcons have a good nucleus of returnees from last year’s teams, they’ve got a huge turnout for cross country, and La Salle cross country coach Tyrone Stammers believes his charges will be in the thick of things again this fall, in their inaugural season competing at the Class 5A level.

“Our goal for both our boys and girls is to make it back to state,” said Stammers. “And I think the kids would love to be the first team from our school to win league in Class 5A. The top three teams from our league qualify for state and I think top three in our league is doable, if the kids perform to their capabilities.

“I expect us to surprise some people and make an impact in the Northwest Oregon Conference, and in the state.”

“The coach showed us the numbers and, based on last year’s times, we should win the league,” said La Salle senior Jason Rae, who was a team leader on last year’s Class 4A state championship team. “We are very excited to compete with new teams, like [2013 Class 5A boys and girls state champion] Summit. We’re not quite at their level yet, but we expect to make some great gains, and get there. We’ve been working hard all summer.”

Jason said that he and his younger brother Truman Rae have logged 60 miles a week since school got out “and I believe the rest of our varsity runners have done the same.”

The Falcons had a record turnout of 82 athletes for cross country last year. Stammers says that the Falcons will likely surpass that record turnout when all is said and done this fall.

“The kids have been training hard since mid-June,” he said. “They’re in great shape and they’re healthy. They’re looking forward to competing at a higher level, because they know that good competition makes you better. We went up against a lot of 6A schools in meets last year and look what happened....”

The Falcon guys this year are led by Jason Rae and junior Truman Rae. They were the No. 2 and No. 5 runners respectively on last year’s state championship team. Senior Nathan Tamashiro and junior Sean Richardson also return. Tamashiro was the No. 7 runner for the Falcon varsity last year, while Richardson went to state as an alternate.

“We have probably as much talent as last year on our boys team,” Stammers said. “It’s just a younger group. Right now it’s Jason and Truman out front, and then everybody else. The pack isn’t as tight as it was last year, but our goal is to make it as tight by the time we get to district.

“We have a big sophomore and freshmen pool, along with some juniors, and I’m pretty confident we’ll do well in our new league.... On the boys side, we’ve got five or six athletes who are going to be battling for the remaining spots.”

La Salle girls return their top two runners from last year in juniors Carly Veasy and Myriam Yao, along with junior Olivia Ogard and sophomore Olivia Cooper. Ogard was anywhere between No. 3 and No. 5 for La Salle girls last year, and Stammers says he expects her to be top three this fall.

The Falcons face a stiff challenge this Thursday when they travel to Fernhill Park to kick off their season at a meet with Jesuit, Central Catholic, Valley Catholic and St. Mary’s.

They’ll get an idea of how they stack up with teams in the Class 5A Northwest Oregon Conference on Wednesday, Sept. 10, when they compete in the NWOC preview meet at Blue Lake Park.

Mustangs, Kingsmen

will be much improved

They won’t be league title contenders, but Milwaukie coach Bill Burdette and Putnam coach Andrew Sneed both expect improvement over last year, when their boys and girls teams finished in the bottom three in an eight-team league.

Milwaukie’s boys team has several runners with varsity experience returning and some youngsters new to the team won’t hurt the Mustang cause.

Junior Max Doman, who was Milwaukie’s top runner at district last year, is back to lead the charge.

And Burdette says he likes what he’s seen from freshman Juan Gudino and from sophomore Mike Lippi. Gudino was second at the area middle school district meet last fall, while Lippi is new to cross country.

“They’ve been training with Max, and they’re keeping up with him,” said Burdette.

Others with varsity experience from last year include: senior Yosiah Simon, juniors Kilin Ung and Trey Edwards, and sophomores Ben Davis and Austin Dongvillo.

Burdette noted that some of his runners, including Gudino, are also competing in other sports this fall, so that they may not be able to help the team out in league until the district meet.

“I think we’ll be better than last year by district,” Burdette said.

Burdette said that many of his better female runners also play soccer and that they may not be able to help the Mustang fortunes much before district.

Sophomores Caitlyn Grogan, Taylor Presley and Hope Frost-Mitchell return from last year’s Mustang varsity girls team. Grogan is healthy and eager to get started. She was the Mustangs’ top runner last season, but missed district because of an injury just prior to the district meet.

Burdette said that he expects sophomores Chelsea Brooks and Elsa King, and freshman Noelani McGowan to bolster the fortunes for Milwaukie’s girls team this fall. McGowan won the eighth grade district meet last fall. All three girls play soccer.

Putnam’s boys team should be much improved, with the return of five of the top seven runners from last year’s team.

The returnees include: seniors Thomas Korsness, Erik Korsness and Aiden Thran; and juniors Jeff Johnson and Devin Gill. Johnson was the Kingsmen’s top male runner a year ago.

“They’re all within 10 to 15 seconds of one another,” said Sneed. “If they stay healthy, I think we could be fourth or fifth in conference, which would be an improvement over last year.”

Senior Danielle Hill is the only returnee to Putnam’s girls team.

But Sneed says he is excited about the potential of freshman Taylor Johnson, who is a talented runner.

“She runs with our boys,” said Sneed. “She’ll probably be top 10 in our conference.”

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