Sports

2005 Preview: XC teams ready to run, have fun

The Klahowya Eagles cross country team is small.

With just six members on the girls team and six members on the boys team, the Eagles will be a little vulnerable. But that doesn’t dim coach Marty Krafcik’s view of how the season may go.

“I’m hoping to carry on our trend of getting the team to state,” Krafcik said. “Even though we’re thin, we have a really good chance. It’ll be tough with the size of the team, but that’s the obstacle to overcome.”

The Eagles will have some prominent returners, namely Sierra Cook, who finished third in state as a freshman last season.

“The girls should be very competitive,” Krafcik said. “Anytime you get a third-at-state-as-a-freshman back, you’re only going to get better.”

Returning along side Cook is Lucille Hosford, who recently won her age group at the Kitsap Fair Stampede 5K race, and Tasha Caffrey, the first four-year runner in the program. Emily Cox also will return.

The boys lost a lot of talent, including Casey Masters and Kyle Ryan. But joining returners Anthony Orkiolla and Noah Caffrey will be some names with similar bloodlines, as Ben Masters and Josh Ryan also return.

OLYMPIC

While the Eagles have a smaller team than usual, the Olympic Trojans have more depth than they’ve had in recent years.

Coach Greg Chapman said of his 22 kids, the team is made up of a good mix of returners and newcomers. He said he expects around a half-dozen more to show up.

Despite losing top female runners Katie Porter and Rochelle Duane, Chapman said there are a few names he looks forward to seeing more of for Oly.

“It’s always sad when you lose seniors, especially like Rochelle and Katie,” he said. “They’re like daughters and sons moving on.”

One of those names is senior exchange student Ane Ribe, of Holland. She will team up with Oly’s Camie Yeik and Annika Turner, the only returners, to form a competitive Oly girls squad.

Andy Wagner and Peter Duane will anchor the boys team that also lost some senior leadership. Ribe and Brianne Gette are the only seniors on the entire team.

“Last year the team was a young team. We were the youngest in the league last year,” Chapman said. “We have a really young team, which is cool.”

Asked if he was worried about having such a young squad, Chapman said in some ways, it makes it easier to have a lack of seniors on the team.

“Seniors can intimidate you,” he said. “So now, it’s all, ‘Hey, we’re all in the same grade, the same boat.’ New leadership will fill that void quickly.”

Central Kitsap

CK coach John Emery said he has a good mix of talent and experience amongst his squad this year.

“The mix is good. We still have a lot of good runners,” Emery said. “We lost some seniors but that’s OK. We’ve got some new runners that will really push our varsity to work hard.”

One thing that should help the Cougs more this year was the inclusion of a summer running program to get the kids ready.

“We didn’t do that last year. That went real well,” Emery said. “It was great. They had a lot of fun and I had a lot of fun. The team building was tremendous.”

Emery said key returners will be Cascade Herriott for the girls and Stephen Peters and Carl Berentsen for the boys.

“The three of them will set the pace to push these others,” he said. “It’s great to have a group constantly push each other. If we don’t have a constant push, that drive, it can get lackadaisical. We don’t want that to happen to us at all. We’re going to have a strong season.”

All three squads start at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Olympic Jamboree at the Fairgrounds.

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