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2013 Fall Sports Preview: Voit, Wareham return to lead Woodbury cross country team

Senior Taylor Voit returns to help lead a Woodbury boys cross country team that head coach Mark Andrews calls one of the “strongest he’s ever coached.” Bulletin file photo

The Woodbury boys cross-country team returns with a talented cast poised for more success following the 2012 campaign where the Royals took fourth at the Section 4AA meet. Woodbury head coach Mark Andrews enters his 20th year as the team’s head coach and said this year’s squad will likely be among the strongest he’s ever coached.

Andrews has a veteran team that enters the season healthy.

“They had a strong summer of camps and captain’s practices,” Andrews said. “They have come ready to run fast.”

Junior Nick Wareham headlines the list of returners after securing a state meet berth last season and a 70th-place finish at the state meet with a time of 16 minutes, 38 seconds.

Senior Taylor Voit, who earned all-conference honors, also returns after nearly securing a spot at the state meet last year with an 18th-place finish at the Section 4AA meet. Add in seniors Nathan Orf and Dan Buchmeier along with junior Paul Henning and Woodbury starts the season on a high note.

The Royals also have juniors Eric Shumaker, who finished 50th at the section meet, and Carter Pysher to count on for competitive times this season.

Andrews also pointed to junior Ryan Topp and seventh-grader Grant Wittman as promising newcomers this season and will help fill the void created by the graduation of Joey Wacker, Matt Waterhouse, Jack McCann and Tyler Jordahl.

“There are really a number of runners that will help us, but so far these two are doing very well,” Andrews said.

The work ethic of the group is exceptional, Andrews said, and he expects the team to challenge the best in Section 4AA. The best in Section 4AA includes perennial state title contender Stillwater along with last year’s section runner-up White Bear Lake

Woodbury girls look to take step forward Woodbury will rely on eighth-grader Haley Orf and sophomore Lauren Smith to lead the girls cross-country team this season after both turned in strong seasons last year.

Orf and Smith both earned all-conference honors at the Suburban East Conference meet last season. Smith led the Royals with a ninth-place finish in a time of 14:55 while Orf took 17th in 15:06. Orf went on to lead the team in the Section 4AA meet with a 14th-place finish and Smith placed 18th in 15:26.

Woodbury finished seventh as a team at the SEC meet and seventh at the Section 4AA meet.

The other returners include junior Cat Henning, who placed 48th at the section meet and freshman Maggie Wilson, who took 83rd at the section meet. Junior Julia Voss returns this season after missing last year due to injury while senior Pauline Aamodt, sophomore Katelyn Ableidinger, and juniors Ritika and Nitika Gupta will contribute throughout the season.

Andrews called this year’s group one of the hardest working he’s had in the past.

The Royals will have to make up for the losses of Ainslee Neu and Caroline Joyce, who graduated last year, along with the loss of Divya Melachuri, who opted to play tennis this fall.

—Nick Gerhardt

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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