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Cross country preview
A year after winning the 2A state title, things look much different for the Lindbergh cross-country team.
“This will be an interesting year, kind of a rebuilding year,” said Lindbergh coach Jef Rettmann. “Way bigger rebuilding year than we usually have.”
The challenge will be replacing runners. On the boys side, four of the Eagles top runners, Luke Garcia, Mark Garcia, Travis Downen and Nathan Haley, all graduated.
Of the two returning varsity runners, senior Mohamud Abdi will lead the way. The senior placed 54th at state and had a strong track season in the spring where he finished 12th at state in the 1,600 and sixth in the 3,200 at districts.
“He is looking awesome right now,” Rettmann said. “He could end up being as good as anybody we’ve had.”
Junior Omelyan Strembitskyy also returns after taking 100th at state. Other runners to watch are Mitchell Hughey, Colton Maddy and Ismael Purganan.
It’s putting it mildly to say this team has become accustomed to success. The boys team has won the past seven league titles and hasn’t lost a league meet since 2006. They’ve also placed eighth or better at state every year since 2004, including second in 2010 and the title last year. Overall the boys team is 82-11 in league meets since Rettmann took over in 1999.
“When you continue to have success and then reach a new level like state champs, people don’t act differently but there’s a different expectation level,” Rettmann said. “We don’t talk about it, but everybody kind of knows.”
For the girls, Sarah Reiter, Anna Patti, Jasmine Fallgreen and Brenna Fisher all graduated. The group was a huge part of the team’s successful run in recent years. Reiter won a state title in 2010.
The team was 32-31 in league meets until things turned in 2008. From that point, the girls have won four straight league titles and placed sixth at state each of the past three years.
“The girls on the team now, that’s all they know is going to state and being competitive,” Rettmann said. “It’s a huge difference in mentality right now from five years ago.”
The girls team will be different this year without a top flight runner like Reiter (three top 14 finishes at state).
“We don’t have the stars for the girls, but it could be a really good pack on the girls side,” he said.
Right now the top three look to be Thuong Nguyen, Ariel Hodges and Cindy Huynh. Rettmann said freshman Christine Villanueva should also be in the pack, as well as Ashley Pigott.
Reiter (Montana State), Downen (Linfield College), Mark Garcia (Everett CC), Jasmine Fallgreen (Everett CC), and Luke Garcia (Green River CC) are all running at the next level from last year’s team.
The Renton boys placed 13th at state, but six of the seven varsity runners graduated. Senior Brian Reilly returns after placing 73rd.
For the Renton girls, junior Joy Barnes is back after taking 41st at state.
The Hazen boys took 13th at the 3A state meet. Seniors Daniel Karpman (40th), Chase Onstot (119th) and Angad Singh (126th), plus junior Luis Paga (136th) are all back.
The Liberty girls team placed eighth at state and won the SeaKing meet. The Patriots only lost one runner, Aimee Christensen, to graduation.
The top six runners from the state meet, Allie Wood (27th), Sarah Bliesner (43rd), Megan Larson (44th), Megan Chucka (94th), Amy Broska (101st) and Rachel Shaw (102nd) return.
For the boys, Hiron Redman is back after finishing 76th at state.