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Warriors bring back stars in Emily Foote and Leo Torres from last fall's state squads

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Aloha junior Leo Torres took fifth at the Metro League district championship meet last year.

Both the Aloha boys and girls cross country teams will forever and always be in the hunt for a Metro League championship.

They're a program that contends for a Class 6A state championship meet berth every fall, leaning on a conducive culture based around tedious dedication, particularly in the summer when miles logged leads to in-season success. If it wasn't for Jesuit and Sunset, there's no telling how many Metro banners would be hanging from Aloha High gym rafters. The Warriors are too well-coached, conditioned and prepared race plan-wise from year to year not to be. Their presence atop the district is perpetual.

This season should be no different. Jesuit and Sunset are loaded on both sides of the ledger as always. And Aloha, at least early on in the season, will know it how it stacks up with each power when the trio faces off in the Metro regular season opener on Sept. 4 at Aloha High School. But the Warriors will be right in the mix and a sure contender for the district's third automatic bid at the 6A state meet. 

"If we get on the line at the district meet with a shot to get to state, then the season is a success," Aloha head coach Ken Martinez said. "The Jesuit girls look to be the team to beat in league. Sunset, Westview and Mountainside girls look tough too. The boys could have a battle between Jesuit and Sunset. Westview returns several runners from a solid 2018 team."

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Aloha junior Emily Foote finished seventh at the Metro League district championship meet last year.

Senior Emily Foote is Aloha's top returner after finishing seventh overall at the Metro Championship and qualifying for state as an individual. The Warriors went to state as a squad as well and bring back seniors Margot Desmond, Cynthia Torres and Annalise Fagliano in addition to junior Keira Coye.

"Emily, Margot and Keira are having a great summer and there is a separation between the three and the rest of the girls," Martinez said. "Our key will be having the 4-5-6-7 (runners) close the gap."

The Warrior boys are led by junior Leo Torres, who fended off a trio of Jesuit runners down the homestretch of the Metro title race and finished fifth overall. Torres, like Foote, helped send the Aloha boys to state. Five of those athletes finished in the Metro's top-32, however, they all graduated last spring. Juniors Jon Morton and Robert Young, as well as seniors Sean Marshall and Shif Alemseged, are expected to step up and fill the void. 

"We have about eight or nine boys with similar ability," Martinez said. "It is possible that our number five runner could be the number one runner from week to week. We lost most of our 2018 team to graduation, but the boys are getting after it this summer and we should be competitive."

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