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Eagles lack numbers, but still look to soar

Westside Christian runners look to step up in 2014


TIGARD — Quality over quantity.

That’s what the Westside Christian High School cross country teams could be counting on going into the 2014 campaign.

The Eagles teams, while lacking in numbers, is still aiming high going into the season.

“The top three teams from our district will qualify to compete at the state meet, and that will be the goal for both of our teams,” Westside Christian coach Scott Ball said. “This is a reasonable goal for both programs, but we’ll be limited by the small number of runners on each team. While we have very small teams for both genders this year, we return some very capable runners.”Photo Credit: DAN BROOD - Lisa Jauch is the top returning runner for the Westside Christian girls team.

The Westside Christian girls have a pair of strong returnees from last year’s squad that won the District 7 team title.

That group is led by senior Lisa Jauch, who ran to sixth place in the individual standings at last year’s district meet.

“She’s in very good shape coming into the season,” Ball said.

Also back from last year’s district title team is junior Grace Cruickshank, who placed 13th at last year’s district event.

“She has run a lot during the summer, and should be our second runner,” Ball said.

New to the team is freshman Payton Goebel, who will also play volleyball at Westside Christian.

“She’s an accomplished runner who will be a dual-sport athlete for us this fall,” Ball said.

The Westside Christian boys return three key seniors from last year’s squad that finished in third place in the team standings at the district meet.

Seniors Jack Pitcher and Marcus Raz could end up battling for the top spot.

Raz, who placed 12th at last year’s district cross country meet, won a West Valley League district title in the 3,000-meter run in last spring’s track and field season.

Pitcher, who placed 14th at last year’s district cross country meet, participated in the Class 3A/2A/1A state meet as both a freshman and sophomore.

Senior Derek Baltzell, who was 19th at last year’s district meet, will play soccer in addition to running cross country for the Eagles. He qualified for the Class 3A state track meet in the 800 last spring.

Junior Grant Landis is returning for his third year on the Westside Christian team.

“His performance will be critical for our team to advance to state,” Ball said.

Junior Chris Palau is returning to the cross country team after player soccer last fall.

“He could play a significant role in our top five,” Ball said.

Sophomore Nat Gurnee could also make an impact.

This year, Westside Christian, along with Horizon Christian, will be competing in the Class 3A/2A/1A District 2.

The Eagles will open their season on Wednesday, when they compete at the Tualatin Invitational, held at Tualatin High School.



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