Douglas cross country opens Friday at Lampe Park | RecordCourier.com

Douglas cross country opens Friday at Lampe Park

Led by an experienced cast of returning runners, the Douglas High cross country program launches its season Friday by hosting the annual Douglas All Class Races at Lampe Park.

More than 600 runners representing 26 schools are expected to compete during a meet in which runners compete within their own classes. The freshman race starts at 3 p.m., followed by the sophomores at 3:30, juniors at 4 and seniors at 4:30.

All runners run the same 2.55-mile course that consists of grass and dirt trails, with "occasional geese," according to Douglas coach Jay Frey.

Douglas has an ample supply of returning talent, including at least three mainstays from a boys team that took third-place last year at the Northern 4A Region Championships.

Junior Patrick Voss finished 17th at the region meet and 20th at state in Las Vegas, where he ran a personal record 16:30 for 5,000 meters. Senior Sean Dunkelman, a three-sport athlete, finished 21st at the region meet and then ran a personal best time of 16:59 at the state meet. James Nair also finished 34th at the region meet and ran a personal best of 18:29 at the high-powered Asics Clovis Invitational in Fresno, Calif. Brandon Koyama and Ethan Daniels are part of a "strong pack chasing" the Douglas leaders, Frey noted.

On the girls side, Maya Smith enjoyed a solid sophomore season in 2016, highlighted by a seventh-place run of 19:18 at the Clovis Invitational — the third fastest 5K time by a Douglas girl since 2011. Furthermore, she has run bests of 2:19.67 for 800 meters and 1:00.12 for 400 meters during the spring track and field season.

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Another leading returnee is sophomore Addison Gregory, who placed 25th at the 2016 Sierra League meet and has run 12:48 for 3,200 meters on the track. Quincy Russell, Baylee Wood and Leslee Alaniz are also "looking good" as far as prospects who will help the Tigers run as a pack this season, Frey said. Alaniz finished 23rd and the girls team finished seventh at the 2016 region meet.