ILWACO - Coach Joe Williams' junior high cross country contingent had the most participants ever.
"We did not have any quitters," he said. "They are the building blocks of our future success."
Felicia Faggard completed her seventh- and eighth-grade seasons undefeated and along with Kathleen Oja, who took a plethora of second and third place finishes, will step right into the varsity program in high school, according to Williams. Monica Milner, another eighth grader, is a dedicated and consistent worker who will also contribute in high school.
"Our seventh-grade girls have the potential to be like our sophomore boys of this year," Williams predicted. "There is a good group of girls who work hard and work together." Desmin Wirkkala, Tabatha Kruse, Dawnielle Childers, Ariel Weir, and Vicky Stark all are strong runners who put forth consistent effort according to Williams.
Matt Kaino led the boys' junior high contingent the past two years, consistently claiming third- or fourth-place finishes. Robert Gibbons placed fifth or sixth in the meets and Stephen Berglund continued to work out with the varsity after the regular season was over, earning praise from the coach. Ricky Alm is a very active runner, and Chris Dunham showed a willingness to stick with cross country.
Helping Williams with coaching duties were Sarah Taylor and Lani Brown. The likely move to class A next year and the group of quality junior high student-athletes coming up through the ranks should give Ilwaco a very successful cross country program in the foreseeable future.