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The Timberwolves have a strong group of returnees from last year's state-meet team

PMG FILE PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Tualatin High School senior Kaitlyn Gearin (200) and junior Olivia Seits (208) will help lead the way for the Timberwolves girls cross country team this season.The Tualatin High School girls cross country team is aiming high this year.

That certainly seems to make sense, after all the Timberwolves are experienced, deep, hard-working and talented. Not only that, but they graduated just one senior from last year's squad that took second place at the Three Rivers League district meet and eighth at the Class 6A state championships.

"The girls team is looking strong heading into 2019," Tualatin coach Chris McIsaac said. "We have about 15 girls that are all varsity-caliber runners, so we have a deep squad that is ready to challenge for the top spot in The Three Rivers League. Last year we finished eighth at the state meet. Our goal this year is to finish better than that."

Leading the way for the Timberwolves will be senior Kaitlyn Gearin. Last year, Gearin ran to second place at the Three Rivers League district meet, with a time of 18 minutes, 23.50 seconds for the 5,000-meter course. She then went on to place ninth at the Class 6A state championships. Things could be even better this year.

"She is looking to improve on her performance from 2018," McIsaac said. "She has put in the work to make it happen."

The Wolves return two other top-10 finishers from last year's TRL district meet in junior Olivia Seits, who was sixth at 19:07.83, and sophomore Mahathi Sridhar, who was ninth at 19:36.61.

Junior Lily Hughes, who was 17th at last year's district meet, sophomore Naiya Gates, who ran to 18th, and senior Taylor Cockrell, who was 19th, also return.

Among the newcomers to the team is freshman Claire Roach.

"She is one of the strongest runners coming out of middle school and will make an immediate impact on the team," McIsaac said.

And the talent, and work ethic, goes even farther.

This is one of the hardest working groups of girls that I've coached," McIsaac said. "All of those athletes worked extremely hard and consistently this summer. Along with them, we had (junior) Rachel Beddes, (junior) Sierra Kurth, (junior)Kara Helland, (senior) Kavya Balasubramanian and senior Emma Koehmstedt all show up consistently throughout the summer and will continue to be the core of our team. All of them will be running varsity races throughout the season."

As for the Three Rivers League this year, Tualatin is looking to move up.

"We will once again be fighting for the league title," McIsaac said. "We have finished in second place for the past four seasons and we are looking to change that. St. Mary's will be the team to beat, but I am confident in this group of harriers."

The Tualatin girls will next be in action on Saturday, when they run at the 15th-annual Tualatin Invitational.

The girls junior varsity race is scheduled to start at 9:45 a.m. The boys junior varsity race will follow at 10:30 a.m. The girls varsity race is slated for 11 a.m. and the boys varsity race is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m.


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