By John McDonald
Replacing a legend is never easy, but it was always Angela Stark’s dream.
The former Lynnwood High runner realized her lifelong ambition when she was named this year to succeed her former mentor, Ernie Goshorn, as the Royals’ cross country coach.
“I’m very excited,” said Stark, who was known as Angela Hoff during her high school career. “Ernie was there so long and created such a good program.”
Goshorn’s girls team won three straight state championships between 1988 and 1990 and his boys team won two straight in 1993 and 1994. He retired at the end of the 2000-2001 school year.
“I grew up in Lynnwood and I’ve kept in contact,” Stark said. “I always wanted to come back. I stayed in touch with Ernie and he encouraged me to apply.”
Stark ran cross country in 1994 at Lynnwood and competed in track all four years of high school, running the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meters and throwing the javelin. She ran three years of cross country and competed in track four years at Whitworth College in Spokane, becoming a hepthatlete.
She spent the last two years teaching junior high in Moscow, Idaho, where she also coached girls soccer and track.
“Ernie taught me a lot of what I know about coaching,” Stark said. “We have a lot of the same philosophies and use a lot of the same techniques and workouts.”
Stark said apprehension over the coaching change may have led to a lower than usual turnout at Lynnwood this fall, but she now has 13 runners and the program is growing.
“I’m going to keep recruiting,” Stark said. “It may take a while for them to have faith in the new coach.”
It may take Stark a few years to match Goshorn’s record, but that’s her goal.
This year the Royals will probably be outclassed running against larger schools in the Western Conference. Here’s a look at how the district competition shapes up:
2000 recap: Spokane schools Mead, University and Mount Spokane finished 1-2-3 at state in the 4A meet. Snohomish was fifth followed by Shorecrest. Marysville-Pilchuck was 10th, Edmonds-Woodway 15th.
Shadle Park senior Michael Kiter won the individual championship. Mead’s Jesse Fayant, who finished third, was the top underclassman.
Snohomish junior Jimmie Poier, who finished 24th, was the top underclassman from the Wesco.
In Class 3A, Jackson was third behind Seattle Prep and Blanchet. Stanwood was fourth, Everett 11th.
Selah senior Mike Heidt won the state title. Lakes junior Joe Gray, the runnerup, was the top underclassman. Mount Vernon’s Jon Skelton, who finished eighth, was the top underclassman from a now-Wesco team.
In Class 2A, East Valley of Yakima edged South Whidbey for the state title on a sixth-runner tiebreaker. Lakewood was fourth.
East Valley junior Matt Owens won the state championship. Mount Baker sophomore Tyler Mitchell, who was seventh, was the highest-finishing underclassman from the North Cascades Conference.
King’s won the Class A/B championship, led by junior state champion Adam Roe.
2001 outlook: There are two hotbeds for cross country in the state, Spokane and Snohomish County. Just look at last year’s district meets. Wesco schools took the top four spots and five of the first six in the 4A bi-district meet and the top three spots in the 3A meet. All those teams are in the same league this season. One Wesco coach said there are six teams in the Wesco capable of finishing in the top 10 at state.
First position in that elite group goes to Snohomish. Led by Poier, the Panthers are loaded with veteran runners, including five returning state placers.
And the Panthers will be traveling from one end of the country to the other to prepare for the end of season meets. Snohomish is scheduled to compete in elite high school meets at San Francisco, Clackamas, Ore., Charlotte, N.C., Yakima and Bend, Ore.
All seven of Stanwood’s state competitors last year were underclassmen. Jackson, Marysville-Pilchuck and Edmonds-Woodway each return four state placers. Shorecrest and Everett have three each.
Poier and Skelton appear to be the top two runners in the Wesco. Jackson’s Evan Wirkkala and Shorecrest’s Kevin Hansen will be tough as well.
Lynnwood’s Eric Walkingshaw and Meadowdale’s Adam Shimer are the top 3A runners from the Wesco.
In the North Cascades Conference, Lakewood returns five of its seven state competitors and is the favorite to win the league title. Despite graduating its top three runners, South Whidbey remains in the hunt with four returning state placers. Mount Baker and Nooksack Valley look like the best bets for third and fourth. Sultan will field a team this year for the first time since the NCC was formed.
In addition to Mitchell, Lynden Christian’s Darrin Matter and Lakewood’s Andy and Marc Dewey are the top returning individuals.
With its top six finishers all returning, King’s is a strong favorite to win a repeat A/B title.
2000 recap: Eisenhower took the 4A crown, beating Snohomish by 12 points. Marysville-Pilchuck was third, Kamiak 16th.
Richland junior Brandi McCoy won the individual championship. Snohomish freshman Amanda Mowers, who was sixth, was the top underclassman from the Wesco.
Newport won the 3A title. Stanwood was fourth, Jackson ninth.
Newport senior Jodee Adams-Moore won the individual championship, finishing more than a minute ahead of Blanchet junior Noelani Kaneko. Monroe freshman Bethany Ojalehto, who was 25th, was the top underclassman from the Wesco.
Mount Baker won the 2A title. South Whidbey was third.
Woodland freshman Tara Ward won the state title. Mount Baker junior Bobeya Krishnek, who finished fourth, was the top underclassman from the North Cascades Conference.
St. George’s of Spokane finished ahead of second-place King’s in the A/B meet.
Freeman senior Laura Halverson won the race. King’s junior Ashley Watkins was second.
2001 outlook: Not much has changed. Eisenhower, Snohomish and Marysville-Pilchuck are probably the top three teams in the state again, although the order remains to be determined. Snohomish and M-P both return six state placers, but the Tomahawks graduated their top runner, Camille Connelly. Kamiak, Stanwood and Jackson also return six state runners each and the battle for the third state meet berth should be vicious.
In addition to Mowers, top runners include M-P’s Amber Simkins, Shorewood’s Celia Maclean, Edmonds-Woodway’s Kelsey McCallum, Bothell’s Amy Lia, Snohomish’s Jessica Culnane and Monroe’s Bethany Ojalehto, all top-25 finishers at state last year.
Two-time defending state champion Mount Baker should have no trouble repeating in the North Cascades Conference. Mount Baker returns six of its seven state meet runners including Kristen Rodhe, who finished right behind Krishnek in fourth place last year. South Whidbey graduated two of its seven state competitors, but should have enough remaining strength to beat out Nooksack Valley for second.
All seven of King’s state meet runners were underclassmen last year. They should give the Knights another shot at the A/B title.