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Girls team looking for leadership after the loss of all-star Charlie Davidson

   It’s been three years since any conversation about girls’ cross country in the Cowapa League could be had without a mention of the Indians’ big anchor.

But all storied careers must come to an end, and now Scappoose will have to move forward and look to rebound after the loss of one of the program’s best runners in school history: a handful of league titles, several shots at a state championship and countless individual highlights for one Charlie Davidson.

“Without Charlie (Davidson) there, that’s a big window blown open for a bunch of girls,” said Tribe head coach David Harley. “They can go into the league season now [thinking], ‘Oh, I could be a district champion.’ With (Davidson) or Tia Carnahan around, it’s like, ‘I’m not gonna beat them.’”

The window is equally wide open for the top spot on the Scappoose squad, which has seen a host of talent graduate over the last two years and left the team with an influx of youth and relative inexperience. Harley said the girls especially had stepped up as a cohesive unit to organize extra workouts throughout the summer, hoping to get up to speed before the season hits in the coming days.

The upperclassmen have been a key, Harley said, and simply because the leap between one year and the next has less to do with running and more to do with the mind.

“I think you can increase the mileage a little bit, but I think the biggest jump may not even be so much physical or physiological, it may be psychological, and the expectations are higher,” said Harley. “You kinda know what to do now, (and) you should be able to do some things without needing to be reminded. You’re being watched a lot closer, I think, by the younger girls and younger boys and so we stress that, that they’re setting a bigger example. It may be more that type of thing than an actual increase in mileage and intensity.”

Having some of the girls back, though they lost their star and school record-holder, has been a boon for Harley.

“I think the girls have done a really good job of filling a vacuum and taking the challenge of needing to be leaders this year because we’ve had so many losses the last couple years of senior girls,” he said.

The boys’ team, on the other hand, is stacked.

“The guys’ team is obviously very experienced this year,” said Harley. “They’re gonna be probably a little bit more aggressive in the way that they attack their training, and also some of the things they want to pass along to the younger guys, where the girls are still kinda feeling their way along.”

Graduating seniors have left the top of the league up for grabs on the boys’ side with big names like Brett Willyard, Hector Rojo, Aaron Josie and Jefferson Farmer having left for college. Valley Catholic, who has won the small-school boys state title in two of the last three years, will move up into the Cowapa League and should challenge for supremacy alongside Astoria’s growing program and Scappoose, whom Harley said would follow in the footsteps of senior Dan Carrier.

Carrier took fourth at the district meet last fall, finishing little more than a second behind Astoria’s Nicholas Long, and was the only junior to break into the top five. Along with Seaside’s Bradley Rzwnicki and Eulises Cruz-Vieyra, Carrier figures to be “the guy in the league,” according to Harley.

The Tribe’s distance crew have already hit the race course for the Wilsonville Night Race, but will return to the land of the living for their first daylight race at Hydrangea Ranch in Tillamook. They’ll be at Liberty High School on Sept. 26, and will take part in the Trojan Relays on Oct. 2. Districts will be held at Camp Rilea near Seaside on Oct. 25.

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