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Cross-country teams loaded with young talent


Boys should challenge for the league title; strong freshman paces the girls side

A talented sophomore class leads the way for the West Linn boys cross-country team, one that the Lions hope will land them another trip to state and perhaps a league title.

West Linn's sophomore class is reminiscent of the Lions' senior class that graduated two years ago, which helped put together one of the more impressive runs in the program's history.

This year's squad will be led by the Ollar twins, Grayson and Roman.

Roman Ollar was fourth individually at districts last year and he and Grayson recently finished 1-2 respectively in the sophomore race of the annual Night Meet.

“They both ran well as freshmen and have only gotten stronger over the summer,” coach Jay Schrotzberger said.

While the brothers look to lead the Lions this year, there is not a significant drop-off behind them. Senior Michael Sullivan returns and should be a major factor along with fellow seniors Michael Katancik, Allenson Gepford and John Goetze.

Two more sophomores, Conor Egan and Colin Squires, should also figure prominently in the team's top seven while junior Jacob Evans has improved tremendously after a strong track season in the spring.

Sullivan and Egan should be able to challenge the Ollars at the front of the pack, but Schrotzberger doesn't expect there to be a big gap on his varsity team.

“I'm hoping to keep the distance between our No. 1 through 7 guys at below 45 seconds,” the coach said.

With that much depth and some runners who should challenge for the district title, the Lions expect to be one of the teams to beat at districts.

Both Grant and Lakeridge should also provide stiff competition but, if the team lives up to its potential, it could also make noise at state.

“I think the pie in the sky goal this year would be to get on the podium at state,” Schrotzberger said, which would involve a top-four finish from the Lions.

For the girls, the team is young but loaded with potential. Freshman Johanna Briscoe has made a big impression early, winning the freshman race at the recent Night Meet and figures to be the team's top runner this year.

“She's really just starting to round into shape for us,” Schrotzberger said.

Marija Jozic also returns after narrowly missing out on an individual trip to state last year. Cailin Guerins gives West Linn some senior leadership and Emily Jordan has made a big jump in the offseason.

A trio of juniors in Hanna Morford, Caitlin Bernert and Adrienne Hohensee should also play key roles.

The league is expected to be competitive again on the girls side with Grant fielding another dominant team. But the Lions could find themselves in the mix for that second spot along with Lakeridge and Lake Oswego.

“If we have some of our experienced kids step up we could be in there,” Schrotzberger said.

The team will have its first crossover meet with the Mount Hood Conference next week and hosts a meet Sept. 18 at Mary S. Young State Park.