The Wolves have strong returnees, swift newcomers

Photo Credit: DAN BROOD - STATE MEET VETERAN -- Tualatin High School senior Matthew Lovos, shown here at last year's Pacific Conference district meet, has qualified for the Class 6A state meet three years in a row. TUALATIN — A strong group of returnees — check.

Talented newcomers — check.

High hopes — double check.

The Tualatin High School boys cross country team looks to have that on going for it as it gets ready to run in the 2014 season.

“The boys program has an exciting mix of experienced racers with newcomers brimming with potential,” said first-year Tualatin boys head coach Andrew Bonica, who is a former standout Timberwolf runner. “The team has already begun to come together to begin to form an identity during the early season and it will be fun to watch them grow together as a team. Cross country is a team sport and we will base our success based on our performance as a team. Our goal is always to qualify as a team for the OSAA state meet in Eugene and to perform to the best of our ability once we get there.”

Tualatin boasts a strong group of returnees from last year’s squad that placed fourth in the team standings at the Pacific Conference District Championships.

Among those returnees is senior Matthew Lovos, who finished in third place in the individual standings at last year’s district meet.

Other key returnees for the Wolves include junior Mark French, who ran to ninth place at last year’s district meet, senior Billy Calder, senior Ben Love and junior Jason Stallkamp.

“We are returning an experienced squad this season, many of which have earned the opportunity to compete at the state meet in past seasons,” Bonica said. “In particular, Matt Lovos will be returning and looking for his very impressive, and rare opportunity, to compete at the state meet for a fourth time during his high school career. Mark French has also been a leader by example by training hard both during the track season and throughout the offseason. He has positioned himself to be an elite runner in our new district. We also expect to see leadership and key contributions from our experienced seniors Billy Calder, Ben Love and Ryan Hanson.”

Tualatin also has a strong group of underclassmen, including sophomores Sean McPherson, Kent Sadler and Evan Marx and freshmen Adam Klein and Zed Linford. Klein set an all-time record with his mark of 4 minutes and 43 seconds at the 20th Beadnell Classic, a middle school mile race held in May.

Now, the Timberwolves are preparing for new competition as they join the Three Rivers League this season.

“Entering the Three Rivers League is an exciting opportunity to compete against new schools while also continuing our long-standing rivalries with others like Tigard,” Bonica said. “While West Linn is returning a strong team that likely will be among the state elite, the rest of the league looks to be wide open with strong and deep programs throughout. But our team is filled with tough-nosed and experienced racers who know that when they toe the line as a team each week, that they have the potential to be a force in this district.”

The Tualatin girls will open their season Wednesday at the annual Tualatin Invitational, which will be held at Tualatin High School.

The Tualatin girls will open their season Wednesday at the annual Tualatin Invitational, which will be held at Tualatin High School.

The 17-school event starts with the 3,000-meter junior varsity girls race at 4 p.m. The 3,000 junior varsity boys race follows at 4:25 p.m. The 5,000 girls varsity race is set to start at 4:50 p.m. and the 5,000 boys varsity race will begin at 5:15 p.m.

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