The Woodmore boys cross team is heading into its Suburban Lakes League title defense season and the girls finished fourth a year ago, but neither expects to miss so much as a stride this season.
Veteran Wildcat track coach Mike Moreno, in his first season at the helm, is already very familiar with the purple and gold’s top runners, for one thing.
Woodmore brings back to the fold Lacey Nagy, Lynn Shroeder, Bailey Ulinski, Anjelica McCoy, Emma Sullivan, Shelby Cuevas, and Melissa Busdecker on the girls’ side of the field, and Brock Avers, Chris Jacobson, and Austin Utendorf rounding out the returning letter winners for the boys.
“They push each other and support each other every day,” offers Coach Moreno.
Moreno’s past experience includes being the architect behind Woodmore’s always-competitive track teams for the past 10 years. Now he has cross country to coach, also.
“On the boys’ side we are led by Chris Jacobson, Brock Avers, and Austin Utendorf, and I also see big improvements in Anthony Cruz and Aaron Brown, with lots of team unity,” he continues, “while I know that Lacey worked very hard in the off-season, because it shows in practice, with Bailey right on her heels as they push each other to get better, and Lynn, Emma, and Anjelica not far behind.
“Shelby and newcomer Tatijana will also be in the mix to round out a very solid team effort,” he forecasts, “and Lakota’s and Elmwood’s girls will both be tough, but I expect our girls to contend for the league title as well. Plus, Eastwood’s boys always re-load well, and Gibsonburg will also be tough. The SLL is full of talent. It will be a fun and competitive season.”
Last season, Nagy turned in an All-League, state-qualifying performance during her breakneck freshman season. She paced her team with a ninth-place finish at regionals and a 33rd place finish at state.
Fellow sophomore Ulinski raced her way to both the SLL championship and Division II state-qualifying honors, with a cast of veterans in upper-classmen Shroeder (a junior, and a Second-Team All-SLL performer, and a state qualifier a year ago), Busdecker (another junior, and yet another state qualifier in ’07), Sullivan (a senior state qualifier), and sophomores McCoy and Cuevas (also both state qualifiers last fall).
Ulinski is also putting their best feet forward to keep pace with the rest of the conference in the face of the loss of standout leader Abbie Utendorf to graduation this past summer, as she moved on to compete for Aquinas College.
The Wildcat boys won the SLL crown in ’07, and would seem to be at a greater disadvantage to repeat in ’08 due to losses of recent graduates Tyler Shroeder, Drew Holbrook, and Will Wegert. The latter two are now running at Eastern Michigan and Hillsdale College, respectively.
The two former runners were pivotal in grabbing the SLL meet last fall, Woodmore’s first boys’ title in 31 long years.
‘Cats Jacobson, Avers, and Utendorf hope to have something to say about the SLL this season.