The Indians will look to seniors Eli Rome and Marcus Simpson on the boys' side, while sophomore Kelsey Childress-Watson will anchor the girls' team

Head coach: Sheron Farner, fifth season

Key departures: Matthew Borowczak (Tri-Valley sixth place), Kennan Hoffman (Tri-Valley 13th place), Chase Rome (Tri-Valley 11th place)

Runners to watch: Senior Eli Rome (Tri-Valley 11th place), sophomore Kelsey Childress-Watson (Tri-Valley 6th place), sophomore Shannon Castleton-Rudolph (Tri-Valley 13th place), seniors Andrew Whitely and Marcus Simpson, freshmen Noah Roth and Kayden Eaves, senior Janiece Moore, and freshman Holly Rae.

PIONEER FILE PHOTO - Molalla senior Eli Rome will be a key component of the boys' team this season.

Season outlook: Boys – Head coach Sheron Farner expects to be chasing Crook County and Estacada for the Tri-Valley Conference. She said both schools have strong returning teams.

The Indians lost key leaders Matthew Borowczak and Keenan Hoffman on the boys' side, but senior Marcus Simpson has stepped up as a leader, while senior Andrew Whitely has rejoined the team after missing last season.

Farner expects senior Eli Rome to be a key runner as he balances soccer and cross country. She also sees promise out of two young freshmen runners, Noah Roth and Kayden Eaves, who are both shaping up to be solid contributors.

Girls – The Indians have just one senior this year in Janiece Moore, who spent last year as a foreign exchange student in Italy.

Sophomore Kelsey Chidlress-Watson will be the Indians' number one runner, and Farner expects her to continue her success from last season, where she finished sixth at the Tri-Valley district meet as a freshman.

Farner noted key returning sophomores Shannon Castleton-Rudolph and Emma Baton, who will be joined by Cayla Peeples and Allison Hoffman, sophomores that will also be balancing soccer and cross country. Farner also said incoming freshman Holly Rae is expected to be a contributor this season as well.

First meet: The Indians kick off their season at the Ultimook Race Nike Invitational at the Hydrangea Ranch just north of Tillamook on Saturday, Sept. 2, with events beginning at 8: 15 a.m. They'll hold the Molalla Invite at Highland Tree Farm on Saturday, Sept. 16 as the varsity girls' 5,000 meters begins at 12:30 p.m., while the boys start at 1 p.m.

Conner Williams
Sports Reporter/News Contributor
503-829-2301 ext. 341
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