Cross-country: Royals girls' runners return experience

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The Woodbury girls' cross-country team should have an opportunity to move up in the conference and section standings this season.

This is what head coach Mark Andrews is looking forward to after having just one regular varsity starter graduate from last season. Maggie Wilson graduated, but the rest of the team's varsity regulars are returning. Among those runners is Tiffany Holiday, who as a freshman last season qualified as an individual for the Class 2A state meet.

"I think this is going to be one of their strongest years in a long time," Andrews said about the girls' team. "We've got a lot of good runners coming back."

Last year, the girls' team finished sixth out of nine teams in the Suburban East Conference. The boys' team, meanwhile, took fourth in the SEC. The Royals' also finished third in the Class 2A, Section 4 championship meet last fall, finishing just three points behind White Bear Lake for the second and final team state berth.

But four of the seven runners from the conference championship team have graduated, including Joe Romain, who was the boys' varsity SEC champion. Romain is running cross-country at Drake University this fall.

"It's one of those where, as time goes on, you're going to end up graduating people, so you've got to replace them as others mature," Andrews said. "We've got some good kids coming back, though, so we should be OK."

Woodbury will begin its racing season with the St. Olaf Showcase meet Thursday, Aug. 31, in Northfield. The nearest race to Woodbury will be held on Thursday, Sept. 7, at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park in Hastings.