Last year, the Wood River High School cross country team welcomed about 33 runners to early-season practices and the squad ended up with 36 competitors in the fall season.
Take those numbers up several notches for 2014 and you’ve got a good idea of the promise and depth shown by the current Wolverine thinclad edition coached by Monte Brothwell, Brady Campbell, Kari Haugen and Jack Scott.
There are 33 boys and 27 girls, totaling 60 participants.
Head coach Brothwell said, “Great turnout so far with the most runners we’ve ever had. Most of the boys from last year’s state team are back except Ty Reinemann. The girls’ team looks like it will be strong again even after losing our top three girls.”
Those losses were considerable. Graduated seniors Janel Passey (district champion, 12th state) and Mariah Stout (18th state) were All-State runners, and they were joined on the All-Great Basin Conference first team by Haley Montgomery (21st state) and Alexis Gonzalez (12th district, 30th state).
Only Gonzalez has returned among the 15 seniors this fall. But, 25 of the 32 Wood River runners who competed at last year’s state-qualifying conference meet have also returned for the Wolverines in 2014.
Success has brought more success, seeing that Wood River’s girls and boys have placed third in the conference meet for two straight years and have two consecutive State 4A meet appearances to show for it.
Brothwell said, “We’re looking forward to an exciting year.
“Grace Gorham is back this year after suffering a bad ankle sprain early in season last year. Amanda Passey, Amy Cantrell, Loni Unser and Avery Closser are the returning girls from last year’s state team.
“Heather Miller (former co-coach with Brothwell) has retired with her new business taking a lot of her time. We will miss her. Brady Campbell has been hired as a new assistant coach to replace her.
“Kari Haugen is the other assistant coach who has been with Wood River cross country since 2010. We have a new volunteer coach, Jack Scott.”
Wood River debuts Friday, Aug. 29 at the Jerome Invitational on the College of Southern Idaho course, Twin Falls.
The Wolverines and Community School host the Sun Valley Classic 3.1-mile regional race for all classifications Friday, Sept. 5 at 3 p.m. on the Sagewillow trails.
This year’s GBC district meet is at Canyon Springs Golf Course in Twin Falls and the State 4A run is at Eagle Island State Park near Boise.
Meanwhile, the Mountain Home Invitational originally scheduled for Friday, Sept. 19 has been moved up to Thursday, Sept. 18.
The Wood River roster:
Senior boys (7): Cameron Bingham, Sam Burns, Alexis Gonzalez, Xavier Haemmerle, Connor Hayes, Cormac Heneghan and exchange student Marcello Luppichini.
Senior girls (10): Karady Beck, Alexandra Begley, Avery Closser, Benedetta Fontanarosa, Grace Gorham, Hanna Leinonnen, Sara Lichtenberg, Claire Sauerbrey, Kenya Schott and Yisel Reigle.
Junior boys (7): Ryan Anderson, Nelson Cantrell, Colby Castle, Brady Delgadillo, Sam McGonigal, Wyatt Smith and Jacob Truxal.
Junior girls (3): Hallie MacPherson, Amanda Passey and Brooke Sundholm.
Sophomore boys (9): Joseph Anderson, Leo Corrales, Cooper Dean, Beckett Dykhouse, Irvin Gonzalez, Ryan Halopoff, Asher Loomis, Kenny Pratt and Nathan Stouffer.
Sophomore girls (5): Amy Cantrell, Alyson “Ali” Cavallo, Penny Hope, Emily Stone and Loni Unser.
Freshman boys (10): Easton Beck, Will Carney, Sam Fauth, Carter Garringa, Liam Jones, Jorgen Lawrence, Kegan Lupton, Landon Nurge, Victor Saldivia and Dane Thompson.
Freshman girls (8): Willow Anderson, Alyson Barney, Kirsys Campbell, Emma Flolo, Karsyn Garringa, Ellie Gorham, Josie Koeplin and Alyson Rogers.