Warrior Nation: Three-team race in girls cross-country

In today’s Warrior Nation sports blog, I’m wrapping up a look at the fall sports teams with a look at girls cross-country. Earlier blogs appeared on boys soccer, girls soccer, football, volleyball and boys cross-country.

Following are conclusions I came up with after reviewing what athletes would likely be returning to each of the Oregon West teams. I didn’t interview any coaches or have any inside knowledge on the composition of the squads heading into any type of abbreviated season here in 2021. Freshmen often impact varsity cross-country teams and that’s something not factored in. Foreign-exchange students can also lead to surprises.

Stayton appears to be in a pretty good spot as far as potential returning runners, a list that includes Hope Bridge and Hailey Notman. Both of those girls finished in the top five at the 2019 district meet.

Sisters brings back Ella Thorsett, who finished runner-up at the district meet and then turned around and won the state meet. Emma Singleton finished in the top 10 at districts and would presumably be in the mix.

Philomath lost three key seniors to graduation — Hannah Hernandez, Rivers Nuno and Madison Bushnell. Among the potential returnees, Ingrid Hellesto and Kaeleigh Houchin head up the list. Sarah McDaniel and Audrey Gerding could potentially be in there along with Claire Cothern, who was the program’s top JV runner.

Those are the top three teams. The rest of the conference could all be fighting for a fourth-place finish. Newport might have a slight edge over Cascade and sixth and seventh appears as though it might come down to Woodburn and Sweet Home.

So, that’s a light look at the teams. Now, let’s see if we can have some sort of season.