Hannah Cesario, as well as boys team, have high hopes

Photo Credit: DAN BROOD - PICKING UP THE PACE -- Senior Hannah Cesario, shown here at the Class 3A state track and field championships, will lead the way for the Hawks.TUALATIN — The Horizon Christian High School cross country program sure seems to have plenty of reason to be optimistic going into the 2014 season.

The Horizon Christian girls team returns one of the top runners in the district in senior Hannah Cesario.

Meanwhile, things are looking up for the Hawks’ boys team — way up.

“Our boys will have our strongest team ever,” Horizon Christian coach Scott Olson said.

The Horizon Christian boys will be led by a trio of seniors in Nate McGill, Dakota Steppe and Sam Davies.

McGill is the top returnee from last year’s Hawk team that finished in fifth place at the District 2 championships. He ran 13th place in the individual standings at last year’s district meet.

Steppe is a transfer from Tualatin and Davies returns to Horizon after one year at Canby.

“They form a strong nucleus,” Olson said.

The Hawks also return sophomore Alex Olson, who was 16th at last year’s district meet as a freshman. Last spring, he earned a bid to the Class 3A state track and field championships in the 3,000-meter run.

Zack Stetzel should be another key runner for Horizon.

“Both are tremendous runners and will support the seniors to create a formidable top six,” Scott Olson said.

The Hawks also are bolstered by a pair of freshman in Nathan Brucker and Devin Wedin.

“Nathan is off to a strong start and has potential,” Scott Olson said. “Devin is out for cross country for the first time and is working hard.”

For the Horizon Christian girls, Cesario returns after missing the end of her junior cross country season due to injury. As a sophomore, she ran to fourth place at the district cross country championships to earn a state-meet bid. This past spring, she qualified for the Class 3A state track meet in both the 1,500 and the 800.

“She is back and looking to return to state,” Olson said.

Freshman Megan Black could be another top runner for the Hawks.

“She is showing lots of potential, and is a great addition to the team,” Olson said.

The Hawks also have a new assistant coach this year in Rebecca Pickrel.

“She brings a significant amount of racing experience and a passion for running to the team,” Olson said.

This year, Horizon Christianwill be competing in Class 3A/2A/1A District 2.

“The league looks to be a good on, and includes a lot of the schools south of us,” Olson said.

The Horizon Christian teams will open their season tonight (Thursday) when they compete at the Wilsonville Night Meet.

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