The Oregon girls cross country team returns a loaded stable of runners ready to make another run to state.
The Panthers return four of their top five runners from a team that finished as the state runner-up during the alternate fall season last spring.
The quartet returning that competed at state is led by junior Dasha Vorontsov, who finished fifth at state last spring and junior Libby Beirne (26th at state). The other top runners back for the Panthers are seniors Amelia Hermanson and Grace Riedl. Hermanson took 31st at state and Riedl was 34th at state last spring. The Panthers’ returning quartet was named Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Association Academic All-State.
Oregon coach Doug Debroux, who is in his 38th year coaching cross country, is in his 11th year coaching just the girls team after 27 years as the boys and girls coach, said the team has a solid core of runners back with a strong work ethic that are dedicated.
“We expect everyone to stay positive, to learn from setbacks, to be humble but celebrate successes, and to continually improve as runners and as people,” Debroux said.
Vorontsov was named the most valuable and inspirational runner in 2020-21. Hermanson was named the team’s most improved and the co-most dedicated runner with Beirne last season.
After the first week of practice, Debroux said the runners have displayed a willingness to sacrifice for the team and respect each other’s differences.
All summer, Oregon girls organized team runs at 6 a.m.
Whether it’s running in the winter, distance events in track in the spring or summer, Debroux is excited by the work ethic they have continued to display despite their success at state last spring.
“We simply will concern ourselves with preparing every single day, staying healthy and safe, improving from every practice, and learning from every racing opportunity to race our best at conference,” he said.
In the newly aligned Badger West Conference, Oregon remains the favorite to win a conference title. Debroux said Mount Horeb also has four runners back from a strong team last spring.
The other returnees for Oregon are sophomores Mari Ceaca-Villa, Reni Emmerich and Belah Fry. Ceaca-Villa was the team’s fifth runner at state last season, finishing 62nd and Emmerich was an alternate for state.
Debroux said with a competitive core of girls working hard to gain varsity experience, the team is primed for high expectations and goals.
Oregon opens the season on Friday, Aug. 27, at the Appleton West Terror Invitational at the Winagamie Golf Course in Neenah.