NASELLE, Wash. - Naselle's cross country team is bursting at the seams with 12 boys and nine girls running this season. All nine girls are also playing volleyball, as Class B athletes can play two sports at the same time under a dual-participation rule.
Coach Ryan Bjornsgard says, "I'm impressed with our numbers. We have a good mix of six veteran guys and six newcomers and we will be able to field a girl's team for the first time in eight years."Naselle Cross Country glanceCoach: Ryan Bjornsgard
2002 record: boys 11th of 15 teams in District IV
Key returnees: Nate Moore and Evan Hendrickson; Erin Saari
Key players lost: Nora Darcher was only girl last year, boys Tak Sato, Zach Badger, Nick Kato, Sean Houghton, Brandon Wirkkala, Matt Queral, and Brian Beaulaurier
Outlook: The first girls team in eight years should be in top four in District and the boys should climb to the middle of the pack in District by season's endThere are no seniors on either squad. "We are still building, but we're getting there," Bjornsgard says. Nate Moore and Evan Hendrickson finished the best among returning individuals at District among last year's team that took 11th place of 15 A/B teams.
Other returning harriers include Cory Teubner, Ryan Nortrup, Keegan McGuire and Aoy Marion. Freshmen include Garrick Bennett, Spencer Griss and Joseph Fletcher. Gavin Maxwell, Greg Queener and Tony Mendoza are on the squad but did not compete last year.
Girls with junior high experience include Erin Saari and Reece Moore. Juniors out for their initial season of cross country are Annie Herrold, Katie Klinger, and Jaimie Hines. Other freshmen include Jenny Klinger, Kristina Chism, Kellyn Pakenen and Sunny Trent.
The girls have an excellent chance to finish in the top four or five teams at district says Bjornsgard, however only the first-place team and first five individuals qualify for state. The boys send four teams and 20 individuals to state and the coach predicts Moore and Hendrickson are among the Comets with the best chance to be in the top 20.