Sports

Jefferson hopes to keep South streaks alive

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

Losing hasn’t been an option for the boys and girls cross country teams at Thomas Jefferson High School the past few years. The Raider girls are a perfect 34-0 and have won the last four South Puget Sound League South Division championships and the boys, the three-time defending league champs, are a perfect 26-0 over the last three seasons.

Things shouldn’t be any different in 2005. Both TJ teams return plenty of talented runners.

On the girls’ side, sixth-year coach Paul Ruston brings back four of his top-six varsity competitors from a team that finished fourth at the Class 4A State Cross Country Championships. The leading returner will be junior Kenna Patrick. As a sophomore, Patrick finished up in eighth place at the state championships, won the SPSL League Meet and was named the SPSL South Cross Country Athlete of the Year.

Patrick also earned a berth to the prestigious Border Clash Meet at the Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. The meet matches the top cross country runners from Washington and Oregon.

Also back for the TJ girls are seniors Hilorie Hildebrant (17th at state), Natalie Jarvey (78th at state) and Meridith Dyer (106th at state).

“This team has a good chance to do as well as last year’s team,” Ruston said. “We have a good mixture of experienced varsity runners with an influx of talented, hard-working freshmen.”

The newcomers include sophomore Cassidy Robey and freshmen Cami Patrick, Vanessa Bennum and Rosemary Angeles.

The Raider boys should also contend for another SPSL South title. Ruston returns his top-three runners from a season ago in seniors Erik Church, Serge Marchenko and Jon Harper. Church was the SPSL South Cross Country Athlete of the Year after finishing unbeaten during the regular season and qualifying for the state championships. Marchenko was a second-team, All-SPSL South selection and finished third at the Federal Way All-City Meet.

Newcomers Chris Bautista, Donny Knapp and Noah Russell should provide the Raiders with a little more depth than last year.

“Often lost in our girls’ team success is the fact that our boys have risen to every challenge and gone unbeaten for three years,” Ruston said.

The Raiders host their only meet of the season today at 4:30 p.m. against Bethel and Emerald Ridge.

Decatur Gators

The numbers aren’t there for the Decatur Gator cross country teams and first-year coach Teri Galloway. But that doesn’t mean the Gators don’t have talented runners.

The Gator girls return two runners who competed at last year’s state championships in seniors Becky Williams and Kim Barney. Williams finished in 61st place and Barney ended up in 95th overall. But the pair makes up half of the entire girls’ roster at Decatur. The other two spots are occupied by junior Stephanie Zeeb and freshman Jill Hildon.

Williams should be one of the top runners in the SPSL South this season. During the summer, the senior ended up in third place in the 2,000-meter steeple chase at the United States National Junior Olympics Track and Field Championships in Indianapolis.

On the boys’ side, the Gators will be counting on sophomores Justin Englund and Justin Helm for high places, along with newcomers Brock Lintelmann and Brad Mason. Englund won Decatur’s three-team meet Wednesday against Kent-Meridian and Puyallup and Helm finished third.

Beamer Titans

The Titans return plenty of talent from a season ago, especially on the girls’ side. Back for Beamer are seniors McKinley Williams and Jennie Reilly.

Williams should be one of the top runners in the SPSL South this season after finishing up in 38th place at the Class 4A State Cross Country Championships last season. She also won the Titans’ three-team meet last week against Emerald Ridge and Kentlake, with Reilly finishing seventh.

Tyler Brigham and Tyler Eidsmore lead a solid group of runners on the boys’ side.

The Titans will travel to Spanaway Lake today for a three-team SPSL South meet with the Sentinels and Puyallup.

Federal Way Eagles

No information given.

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