Portland — If the Summit Storm and Jesuit Crusaders didn’t exist, then the Ida B. Wells Guardians would be the top pick to win the 6A Cross Country Title. You might remember them better as the Wilson Trojans, but with a new name came a new chapter, and the first chapter of their Guardians identity has certainly been a great one. Here are the athletes that form this stellar squad……
Almost every great team has a senior stud that sits as the leader of their squad, and the Guardians are no different. They are led by senior Charlotte Richman, who currently sits sixth in the state with a run of 17:54 at the Northwest Classic. This past spring, Richman broke through as an athlete, setting PR’s and establishing herself as one of the best runners in the state as a junior. She is the anchor of this squad, and will certainly be the first one over the finish line for the Guardians. After you get past Richman, you find Petra Schuster and Josie Fale, a junior and sophomore combo who will take the reins of the team after Richman graduates in 2022. Schuster has been established since she was a freshman, when she ran her fastest time and is currently only four seconds off her pace from two years ago, something that is impressive without competing at the HS level in the Spring and coming off the pandemic lockdown.
A young lady that is not only a great runner, but a fantastic person to get to know, Josie Fale is one that has the potential of Schuster or even more. She stormed onto the scene in the Spring season, putting up a blazing 17:57 and making her name known in the cross country scene. Her pace has fallen off thus far in the fall edition, but if her run from the Spring is any indicator, its that this sophomore can compete with the best in the state and might explode at any minute. Finally, the Guardians are rounded out with a newcomer in Olivia Kozita, who sits as a Top 35 runner in the state this season. Her potential is unknown, as the next closest data I can locate on her is from 2017, but its clear that she is a huge contributor to the Guardian lineup already.
So what is keeping Ida B. Wells from competing with Summit and Jesuit? A couple things: The Storm and Crusaders have absurdly talented athletes that all rank in the Top 50 of the state, a product of their great programs and ability to develop athletes. For perspective, Summit and Jesuit have eight runners combined that are faster than Wells second fastest runner Petra Schuster, a pretty daunting mountain to try and defeat. The other factor is that the Guardians are missing a rock solid fifth runner, the one who rounds out the team scoring at an event and can make the difference between a podium or a non podium finish. Wells boasts a great program by most standards, but those pesky Storm and Crusaders are the only ones in the way. Nonetheless, Wells is not only a great program, but they have a wonderful culture that allows them to thrive each and every time out on the course, and are a team to watch this season as the best of the rest!