The Eastmont girls cross country team was named to the preseason state top-10, but up until about a week ago, head coach Gary Millard was unaware.
“I think (Eisenhower head coach Phil English) collects the votes and advises the group on how to do the rankings. He saw what we did last spring and saw we had three top girls — (Betsy Arlt, Molly Gwinn and Jenny Albrecht) — that could really compete,” Millard said. “… We’re not at full strength right now. Jenny has some lower leg stuff and the learning curve behind our No. 2 is steep. It was a generous ranking but it was very nice and refreshing to see, hey, we’ve got a group of girls here.”
Arlt and Gwinn have been competing well as of late, with the junior Arlt winning and Gwinn taking third in the Wenatchee XC Invitational last Saturday. But the team finds itself in a dead heat with Wenatchee in contention for the second team berth to states.
“If you scored it like a District meet, we lost to Wenatchee by two last Thursday, but beat them by six on Saturday,” Millard said. “It’s close, one kid here and another there and the order will be changed.”
The boys team knows it has its work cut out for it if it wants to catch the favorites and take one of the top two spots from Eisenhower or Wenatchee.
“The goal of our boys is to see how much we can close that gap and approach those teams, see what we can accomplish by the end of the season,” Millard said. “We want to establish ourselves as a solid third team.”
Millard expects Bret Lindell, Grant Gilbert, Matt Olson and Eric Ballard to be a solid core as the team improves throughout the season.
Betsy Arlt, jr., Molly Gwinn, sr., Jenny Albrecht, sr., Nency Cruz, jr., Alicia Girdler, so., Bret Lindell, sr., Grant Gilbert, jr., Matt Olson, so., Eric Ballard, jr.
Richland Invite: Saturday, Oct. 12.
League Meet No. 2 at Wenatchee: Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Big Nine District XC at Franklin Park, Yakima: Thursday, Oct. 31.