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Woodbury girls runners have heightened expectations

Haley Orf earned all-conference honors last season. (Bulletin file photo)

Woodbury girls cross country coach Stacy Otto has already introduced her team to some new workouts during the first few weeks of practice.

So far, so good.

Otto, who is in her first year as head coach after a few years as an assistant, has implemented intensive speed workouts, strength training and yoga in to the Royals’ practice schedule.

She said her familiarity with the roster has helped make the transition to head coach relatively easy.

“I know how much I can push them,” Otto said. “We’re already doing some harder workouts earlier on that we did last year, which I think has been good for the girls.”

Otto said she’s made a point of raising the expectations within the program and senses her team appreciates the challenge.

“It’s just been kind of fun to introduce some new things, do some things they didn’t do before and just change things up,” she said. “There’s a little more variety to the workouts.”

Otto is making those changes with a new goal in mind: top-five finishes in both the conference and the section.

Woodbury finished sixth in the conference and seventh in the section in 2013. But six of Woodbury’s top seven runners are back, including all-conference selection Haley Orf.

“She’s put in a ton of mileage and time. I’m excited to see what she’s going to do this year,” Otto said about Orf.

All-conference honorable mentions Katlyn Ableidinger and Kathleen Danielson are back in the fold, too. And Otto also said seniors Cat Henning, Julia Voss, and Sam Monson will be key runners this season.

“It’ll be nice to see how much the girls can improve from last year,” Otto said.