Conference champions rebuilding without speedy senior class
The Wilsonville boys cross country team is seemingly paying the price for having so many talented seniors last year.
Six of the programs top seven runners from the 2012 roster have graduated, leaving Wildcats coach David Barkley to wonder which athletes will fill out his varsity lineup this season.
There are lots of younger guys working hard, but they have five or six weeks before they will look like big varsity kids, he said.
Perhaps the teams most obvious component this year is junior Josh Meyer, who placed ninth at last seasons Northwest Oregon Conference championships with a career-best time of 17:01.0. He was the only non-senior in Wilsonvilles varsity lineup last year.
Alex Tomlinson, meanwhile, figures to contribute in his senior campaign after taking runner-up honors at last years junior varsity district meet with a personal-record time of 17:35.2. It was the first sub-18-minute mark of his career.
The Wildcats are also bolstered by junior transfer Kody Wilde, who joined Barkleys program after two seasons at Kuna High School in Idaho. Wilde clocked a career-best 17:32.31 and competed at the Idaho state championships as a sophomore.
We have 40-plus boys running hard and learning fast, Barkley said.
But the group will run without a decorated Class of 2013 that included district champion Ty James and runner-up Ben Thomas as well as top-10 finishers Milo Perkins, Sam Collins, Branden Fitzke and Kyle Shavere. That cadre led Wilsonville to a district title.
This year, Barkley said, his runners will have plenty of stout competition in the NWOC. Liberty boasts several skilled returners, Sherwood added a few transfers to its talented roster and St. Helens always finds five good runners no matter what they look like on paper, he said. Our boys could be anywhere in there.
AT A GLANCE
WILSONVILLE BOYS CROSS COUNTRY 2013
Coach: David Barkley (13th year)
Last year: Placed fifth at the Class 5A championships after winning a district title
Key runners: Josh Meyer, Kody Wilde, Alex Tomlinson
Key losses: Ty James, Ben Thomas, Milo Perkins, Sam Collins, Branden Fitzke, Kyle Shavere
Outlook: The graduation of a large and talented senior class leaves Wilsonville seeking contributions from a lone returning varsity runner, an Idaho transfer and a slew of fresh faces.
First league meet: 4 p.m. Sept. 11 at Blue Lake Park (Fairview)
9/7 Ultimook invite * 2 p.m.
9/11 NWOC preview # 4 p.m.
9/21 Fort Steilacoom ^ 10 a.m.
9/25 Liberty meet 4 p.m.
10/2 Star City Classic > 4 p.m.
10/11 Sandelie Classic + 2:30 p.m.
10/23 NWOC districts # 3 p.m.
11/2 State finals < TBD
* at Hydrangea Ranch (Tillamook)
# at Blue Lake Park (Fairview)
^ in Lakewood, Wash.
> at Bush Park (Salem)
+ at Sandelie Golf Course
< at Lane Community College (Eugene)