Woodrow Wilson has a notable history of success in cross-country, particularly on the girls side.
This season, though, there are more questions marks than ever before.
“The boys should be strong this year,” says Woodrow cross-country coach Steve Wolf. “The girls are an unknown for the first season in a long time.”
Since 1985, their first year as an organized team, Wolf and company have sent five girls to the state meet. The Wildcats finished 10th overall as a team in 1987.
Since then, the girls have never finished worse than second in their district. Among their premier performers were Audrey Cole, state cross-country champion in 1985 (who may be the only state champ from the DISD in classes 4A or 5A). Others include Marcia Meilke, three-time state qualifier Shannon Holley, four-time state qualifier Erin Henderson, and Teresa Alexander.
Wolf recalls these long-distance specialists as if they crossed the finish line yesterday. He calls Alexander the best pure athlete of them all, and says Henderson and Alexander are competing at Duke and Louisiana Tech.
Last season, behind Michele Stackhouse, Jamie Beach and Erin Murray, the Wildcats finished second in the district. Stackhouse will run for SMU this fall, but Beach and Murray are expected to shine for the 1993 squad.
Wolf considers Murray to have the best shot at being the sixth state qualifier in school history. She clocked a season-best 13:20 last year, but suffered from painful shin splints late in the season and again during the spring. With medical help and rest, Wolf hopes Murray will crack the 13-minute mark, nearly a must to qualify for state.
The boys pulled off a major upset last season by capturing their first-ever district title. With their top three runners returning, the 1993 campaign looks promising indeed. Back to carry the load are seniors Mario Campos, Tony Mayes and Clay Gaspard, who finished third, seventh and eighth, respectively, in the 1992 district meet.
Campos ran a 17:19 last season in the three-mile event and hopes to break 17 minutes this fall. Mayes and Gaspard finished neck and neck with times of 17:40 and 17:42 at the district meet and should better those times in their final year at Woodrow.
Peter Morrisey, a junior, and sophomores Tom Rundell, Judd Webb and Ryan Huber, are expected to compete for the seven qualifying spots. Wolf also says Shannon Cooper has the talent to compete for prominence.