For the last few years, it’s been quality that’s carried Seaside cross country.

Namely Brett Willyard, last year’s district champion who now runs for the University of Oregon.

The Gulls are now looking at quantity to score their points, as Seaside’s turnout for cross country was approaching 30 by the first week of school.

“That’s well ahead of previous years,” said longtime Seaside coach Neil Branson. “And it’s been nice to see. We’re at 25 right now (second week of practice), and we’ll be knocking on 30 by the end of the first week of school. That’s way up.”

Branson attributes the increased numbers to a number of factors – athletes switching sports, word of mouth and runners recruiting more runners.

“I think we’ve finally convinced some basketball players to come out,” he said. “And they convinced their friends. We had two freshmen girls who were committed to it, then they added three more freshmen. We have some good freshmen boys, and picked up some soccer players (Allison Kilday, Amber Nofield, Giselle Pincetich).

“And Charlotte Blakesley will go both ways. They really add some horsepower to the girls’ team,” Branson said.

THE LEAGUE

On the boys’ side, “it’s going to be Scappoose leading the charge,” Branson said. “I think they bring six of their seven back. And they were really enthusiastic about getting fifth at state. I know they train well together, so they will definitely be the lead dogs.”

With Willyard out of the picture, along with Tillamook’s Aaron Josi, “it’s real open as far as the individual title,” he said.

For the Seaside boys, “Jefferson Farmer (Sr., seventh at districts last year) will be our horse, but right with him will be Jackson Januik. Sam Wittman is back, and ended up running pretty good last year. Jack Whittle is also back, and looks a ton better. Colin Van Nortwick looks much better and stronger.”

Freshmen including Will Garvin, Bradley Rzewnicki and Januik “were the horses on that strong middle school team,” Branson said.

The Scappoose girls lost a lot through graduation, “although Charlie Davidson (Sr.) is strictly cross country now,” Branson said. “But they lost some others, so I think the girls’ race will be a little more wide open.”

 

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