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With girls returning strong racers, the boys coming up, Wildcats have good shot at state appearances

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP FILE PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Samantha Prusse, Kate Stewart, Angel Bohn and Ava Stenstrom all return to the Wilsonville girls cross country team. Coach: David Barkley

2017: NWOC District Champions

Key losses: Nicholas Whitaker, Jonathan Palmer, Krista Herlin

Key returners: Jack Burns, Sebastian Pinger, Joseph Wilde, Ben Sheirbon, Trevor Johnson, Samantha Prusse, Sophia Somerscales, Kate Stewart, Kaitlyn Dougall, Angel Bohn,

Outlook: Last year, the Wilsonville Wildcats were on point. The teams won the district titles at Blue Lake Park in Gresham, and looked nigh unstoppable doing so. While the boys team graduated top runners Nicholas Whitaker and Jonathan Palmer, they return a host of talented seniors. Senior Jack Burns will be one of the leaders, returning after a trip last year to the state championship meet in Eugene where he placed 50th out of 97 with a time of 17 minutes, 15 seconds (17:15). Joining him in leadership positions will be sophomore Sebastian Pinger, who last year set a personal best when he took second in the NWOC championship junior varsity race, setting a time of 18:15.73. Senior Joseph Wilde will also be making a comeback to the fold after making an appearance at the state meet, taking the 66th spot. Sophomore Ben Sheirbon, senior Trevor Johnson and senior Jack Roche will also return.

On the girls side of the equation, last year's district champion junior Samantha Prusse will lead the team on another run to the title. Prusse came in 15th in last year's state meet with a time of 19:38, and only figures to be getting better as time goes on. Joining her will be senior Sophia Somerscales (who also reached the state meet, taking 31st), senior Kate Stewart (who recently set a personal record in the 3,000 meter race of 11:56.8 at this year's Night Meet on Friday, August 24) and senior Kaitlyn Dougall (whose personal best time of 20:07.7 got her the 7th spot in last year's district meet). Rounding out the returning team leaders is senior Angel Bohn, who has two state meet appearances to her ledger, and looks to add another.

With Sandy leaving the NWOC, the top competition for the boys team this year appears to be Parkrose, who return junior Ahmed Ibrahim and senior Abdi Ibrahim. The Ibrahims finished in the top five of last year's district meet, and the Broncos overall took the number three spot. St. Helens will be tough also, as it returns top 10 NWOC runner Waylon Nichols.

For the girls, La Salle, St. Helens and new NWOC addition Scappoose will be tough competition. La Salle returns senior Brigid Hanley, and Scappoose took second place at the 4A level overall.

Wilsonville's next cross country meet will be the NWOC Preview on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at Blue Lake Park. The first race starts at 4 p.m.

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