The rebuilding has begun for the Astoria cross country program.
After finishing in last place in the team standings (both boys and girls) in the 2016 league championship meet, the first order of business was to build up the numbers.
That part, at least, has been accomplished, with 25 runners total, 16 on the boys’ side.
“I’m excited for this season, and I’m really happy with everyone we have out,” said Astoria coach Andrew Fick. “We’re a young team on the boys’ side, but we have some strong runners coming in, as well as several of our guys returning which will help us continue to build our program and be competitive.”
“The Cowapa League will continue to be strong on both the boys’ and the girls’ sides, but we’re up for the challenge,” Fick said. “Our numbers are up and everyone has been working hard early on.”
The Tillamook girls and the Seaside boys are the defending league champions, with Scappoose and Valley Catholic always in the mix on both sides.
McKenzie Burnett, Sr., Abby Groncki, Fr., McKenna Long, So., Sophie Long, Fr., Libbie Nash, Sr., Taylor Palmrose, Jr., Kathy Perez, Sr., Allyson Pritchard, Fr., Emma Roe, Fr.
William Berezay, Jr., Steven Blankenship, Fr., Nikolai Boisvert, Fr., Tristan Bostick, Fr., Dorian Bryant, Fr., Kyler Farrell, Fr., Parker Ivanoff, Jr., Calvin Kaul, Jr., Ammon Larsen, So., Jacob Matlock, Fr., Noah Kastengren, Fr., Logan Ploghoft, Fr., Evan Randall, Fr., Elias Simmons, Jr., Dalton Somers, So., Cameron Van Raden, Fr.
Coach Fick’s rundown
On the girls’ side, “we’re fortunate to have veteran runners coming back, and their leadership makes a huge difference,” he said. “McKenzie is a really strong runner and a positive force on our team. She really knows how to get the most out of the workouts and raise the bar for everyone else.
“Kathy and Libbie also do a great job and help make sure that everyone is really working together. They help strike that balance between keeping it fun while doing what it takes to get better and run competitively.
“McKenna and Taylor also bring a lot of valuable experience and have really grown in the past year as distance runners, so I’m really excited to see what they’ll do this season.
“We also have some great new runners joining us. Sophie Long has been running really well with McKenzie and has been putting in some great early workouts. Abby and Emma are also going to be major contributors and are looking quick in our early training. As a team, they’re dedicated and focused and overall just a great group of girls, and I’m looking forward to some really solid races this year.”
For the boys, the Fishermen lost Lucas Caruana, but “Calvin Kaul is always a hard worker and sets a positive tone for the team,” Fick said. “Parker, Elias and Will also bring valuable experience, having run in the big races and put in the training miles.
“Our incoming freshman, Nikolai Boisvert, had the top finish in our team time trial and we had several of our other freshmen boys right in the pack as well. Cameron, Evan, Ammon and Dalton are all in the mix for our early season varsity lineup.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us being in such a strong league, but these guys work hard as a team, so you never know … that’s why we run the races.”