Forest Grove harriers remain as competitive as ever
Vikings should once again challenge forconference titles and state meet berths
At this point in time, the Forest Grove cross-country teams just seem to find a way to reload every year.
Expect much of the same in 2015.
Under new coach Adrian Shipley, both Viking teams took home titles at the inaugural Greater Valley Conference district meet last October, and both seem well-heeled to at least qualify for the Class 6A state meet once again, if not repeat while theyre at it.
With about 65 runners coming out this year, including a lot of freshmen, turnout is strong. The Forest Grove boys graduated two of their top three runners from 2014, but they return four others who raced at state and welcome an influx of talent. Similarly, the girls return five of last years top seven, and several others could push for varsity spots.
So far so good, was Shipleys assessment last Thursday, the day after his teams raced in the Greater Valley Conference Preview Meet in Salem.
The boys likely frontrunners are Murimi Nyamu (third at district meet in 2014) and Max Norman (eighth). Nyamu picked up his first-ever all-state honor this past spring on the track, and he posted the fastest time overall at the Preview Meet, which was split into freshman/sophomore and junior/senior divisions.
Norman recorded an excellent freshman track season in the spring and seems to have kept progressing over the summer. His time at the Preview Meet was some 40 seconds faster than he ran in all of 2014.
I think that it will kind of be the similar situation that weve been in with the guys for the last two or three years, Shipley said. One-two punch will be pretty good, and then weve got quite a few guys in a pack coming up behind them. The development of that pack will kind of determine how far those guys can go.
Other returners off that state team are juniors Riley Stewart and Hyrum Hansen. Senior Fidel Bucio-Gallardo, one of the top junior varsity runners last year, is already running faster this year than he was at the end of last season. Returners Garrett Stewart and David Thacker could also challenge.
Matt Stanich is an intriguing newcomer. The senior has never run cross-country before but qualified for the state track meet in the 800 meters this year. Isaac Lopez-Haas and Andrew Stephen have been running well already as freshmen and could work their way into Forest Groves pack as well.
For the Viking girls, Hannah Berdahl is the top returner from 2014. She took seventh at the district meet as a freshman. The other returners are Ellie Schnorr (ninth), Elissa Anderson (20th), Brittany Pitarresi (25th) and Lydia Gronseth (33rd).
A couple of talented freshmen in Hannah Aguirre and Elizabeth Khoury should contend for varsity spots, as should returners Lucia Mendoza and Nina Arciniega, as well as Esther Vega, a junior tennis player who is already showing promise as a distance runner.
I think we have a couple girls that are capable of being able to run fairly up front in some races, and then I think our pack has potential to be really, really strong, Shipley said.
Today, Forest Grove hosts one of two home meets this season, this one against South Salem and West Salem at Neil Armstrong Middle School. The Vikings will entertain McKay and North Salem on Sept. 30 at the Anderson farm on the outskirts of Forest Grove.
This years GVC district meet is scheduled for Oct. 21 at Bushs Pasture Park in Salem.JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT