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Wilsonville's cross country teams were superb athletes on the course, and dedicated students off it

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Sophomore Samantha Prusse was consistently Wilsonvilles top girl runner this past season. She placed 15th overall at the state meet in Eugene on Nov. 4. With the crossing of the finish line at Lane Community College, the cross country season has come to a close. For Wilsonville, it was a solid season. The team had marked improvement over the course of the season, and head coach David Barkley had some standout male runners, specifically junior Jack Burns and junior Joseph Wilde. On the girls side? Nearly all of the athletes.

"Pretty much everybody in the top 15 (of the girls team) improved by 30 to 45 seconds or more," Barkley said. SPOKESMAN PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - In her second season with the Wildcats cross country program, junior Sophia Somerscales placed 31st in the state meet on Nov. 4, and came just three seconds away from besting her personal record.

And overall, the team did what it set out to do at the beginning of the season: lay claim to the Northwest Oregon Conference titles and to place in state. SPOKESMAN PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Junior Kaitlyn Dougall was Wilsonvilles third finisher at the state meet, and helped contribute to the teams success in getting first place at districts.

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Senior Nicholas Whitaker finished his career with the Wildcats by taking 31st at the state cross country meet at Lane Community College. "We matched expectations or exceeded expectations this year," Barkley said. "We thought girls could win districts and hoped boys could win districts. We got both of those. We hoped for two top 10 (team) finishes at state and we ended up 6th and 10th."

There is still work to be done though, and Barkley sees potential in the underclassmen of the group.

"To turn the corner from being a district level team to a state placing team we will need the girls to stick with their current trend and keep consistent," Barkley said. "We are on track and improving, we just need to get another 30 seconds a runner to be a solid in the trophy team, instead of an almost in the trophies team. For the boys, it will take some of our younger guys to understand that they are really close to being very good runners. We have several young guys that could take on big roles next year if they put in the time to get ready for next year."

To cap off the season, the teams were also superb students in the classroom, something Barkley was proud of. SPOKESMAN PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Senior Jonathan Palmer ran with his team at the state meet in Eugene. Early in the season, Palmer established a PR of 16:23.4, and contributed to his teams overall success during the season.

"We have a great group of student-athletes," Barkley said. "The girls grade point average was 3.96 and the boys over 3.6. We always get good students, but this group is extra in that regard."

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