Expect Colville High boys cross-country to be competitive

Indians move up to GNLBY CHRIS COWBROUGHS-E Sports EditorColville High lost some key components off last November’s Class 1A state runner-up team, but the Indians certainly have enough left in the tank to make for an interesting reintroduction into the Class 2A Great Northern League.The Indians will be led by third year varsity standout Kevin Carpenter. The junior finished eighth and got a spot on the podium at last November’s State 1A meet at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.Senior Roman Korovnik has also been running all summer and is determined to run in the second position for coach Dean Fischer’s CHS boys. But he’ll be pushed by Colville Valley Swim Club standout Dylan Schanz.Distance running not for the faint of heart—or mindAnother returning senior in the mix will be Jay Shoemaker.‘These four helped Colville to a second place finish at State and they want to be on the podium again,” Fischer said. Sophomore Emmett Morehouse, a State alternate, and junior Noah Baum are working hard for varsity positions. “Actually, every one of these kids is working hard and supporting one another,” Fischer added. Fischer could only smile last week when one of his new cross-country recruits confided in the longtime coach about how difficult the sport is. A definite “”Aha!” moment. “He told me, ‘this is 10 times harder than any other sport I have been out for.’” “Well, he did come back the next day, so that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing,” Fischer quipped, adding that “we do like to say, ‘It may be simple, but it ain’t easy.’”Distance running may be, in and of itself, easy to the untrained eye—then you run. “It reminds us of the mental and physical demands that it takes to run distance,” Fischer pointed out. The CHS boy’s team is rounded out by juniors Ryan Lytle and Joe Weir, sophomores, Reese Johnson and Sean Palmer, and freshman David Lariviere.THE LEAGUEThe Indians were part of the toughest Class 1A league in the state the past two years. 1A power Lakeside is out of the picture, at least until Colville moves back to Class 1A after the current two-year WIAA enrollment cycle.Yes, had the enrollment count been a few months later, the Indians would still be a member of the Northeast A League. Timing is everything—or absolutely nothing at all.Fischer said that Deer Park will be “the 500 pound gorilla” in the GNL on the boy’s side. Cheney has both numbers and talentCheney, with its ever-present numbers will also be in the mix. The Blackhawks, like Deer Park, were both in the top five in the State 2A meet last fall. Colville may not have the depth to contend with schools like Cheney that are twice Colville’s enrollment size, but Fischer’s boy’s teams are always among the league—whether it’s NEA or GNL. The former State Cross-Country Coach of the Year has one of the top high school cross-country programs in the State and has for many years.Fischer might scoff at that this time around, throwing out moniker’s like “we’ll be rebuilding.”But expect the Indians, at least on the boy’s side, to be very competitive in the GNL—again. Sometimes it’s all a matter of semantics—figure the Colville boy’s program to be reloading. On the girl’s side, the numbers game is again an issue. There simply aren’t many girls out.Senior Jill Fenno is the stalwart and in her third season, providing leadership and inspiration. Fellow senior Hannah Johnson returns to the varsity, along with junior Nyshel Pease. Three new sophomores join the team: Emma Schanz (sister of Dylan and a swimming standout), Haley Jensen and Ashley Beers.The CHS girls missed out on a State 1A trip by a single point at last October’s regional meet against the Caribou-Trail League (two years running). “We will have a much more difficult time in the GNL,” Fischer conceded. CompetitiveAdded assistant coach Dale Wilson, “We are still struggling with our number of girls, but the team we have will be competitive and they are a great group of young women. They will run with a great deal of heart and pride. I expect them to do well, but I don’t see anybody getting past Cheney’s girls.”Wilson’s pick to win the State 2A girls title this fall is, not surprisingly, Cheney. At least the Indians won’t have to go up against the Lakeside girls this fall. The Eagles are the defending 1A champions and look to be a solid bet to successfully defend that title. LHS returns their top seven runners.In the GNL, the marquee girl’s team is from Cheney. The Blackhawks won the State 2A title last fall and return six of their top seven runners, including Sanne Holland, who finished fourth at State individually in cross-country and won a State 2A 3200 championship last spring.OUTLOOK“I am hoping that the tougher competition will raise the level of expectation of our athletes and pique the desire to work toward excellence,” Fischer said. “The alternative to that is mediocrity.”Both Fischer and Wilson are optimistic that the program at the junior high school will be a more verdant source of talent in years to come. “This season will be the beginning of a multi-year rebuilding cycle for our girls,” Wilson said. “What we are seeing at the junior high is very promising…they are a lot like our high school squad…hard workers with great attitudes.”The addition of Colville to the GNL mix simply makes a very strong 2A league that much stronger. Look for District’s 7 (GNL) and District 1 to continue to run in front of the State 2A pack.THIS WEEKColville will get the 2012 high school cross-country season off and running on Saturday when the Indians compete at the long-running Highlander Invitational at Shadle Park High School in Spokane. The varsity boy’s and girl’s races are scheduled for noon and 12:30 p.m.Unlike other cross-country races, the Highlander, which draws teams from across Washington state, Idaho and western Montana, is run by class (freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior races, along with C and junior varsity).