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Tide boys will have a strong distance group after a trip to the state cross-country meet

Last spring, the strength of the Glencoe track and field team was a corps of talented sprinters. This year, the Tide will be powered by a burgeoning group of distance runners.

“We lost the majority of our boys sprinters from last year, but we are returning a lot of great distance runners,” said Glencoe head coach Dennis Rice. “We also have a new distance coach — David Welsh, who used to coach at Astoria — and the boys are lucky to have him. He’s been fantastic.”

Led by twin brothers Miles and Mason Rouches, plus fellow senior Abe Teklu, the Crimson Tide have a stable of runners who could dominate the 3,000 and 1,500-meter distances this spring. All three were members of Glencoe’s cross-country team in the fall, which earned the program’s first-ever team berth to the Class 6A state meet in Eugene.

On the girls side, Kari Zickel was a state meet qualifier during cross-country season and will be a threat at the longer distances, and she will be joined by sophomore Ruth Teklu, Abe’s younger sister, who excels at the 800 and 1,500.

Elsewhere, junior Leah McClaine is one of the top returning hurdlers in the Pacific Conference after finishing third in the 300-meter hurdles at last year’s district meet.

“Right now it’s looking like we’ll be strong in the distance events, and we have a bunch of field athletes who I think can make a difference for us,” Rice said.

Chief among those field athletes will be junior Justin Worthy, last year’s district champ in the shot put who also throws javelin for the Tide.

“We’re encouraged,” Rice said. “Glencoe always produces good athletes, and I think we’ll see some kids rise to the occasion this year.”

Overall, numbers remain high for the track and field program at Glencoe. Rice said he expects to have more than 140 athletes by the time spring break is finished. Of that group, only about 25 are seniors, so the future looks bright for the Crimson Tide.

“We’ve got a really small senior class, so with these freshmen and younger kids coming in, we hope they can push the older kids a little bit,” Rice said. “We’re always looking for a little friendly competition.”

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