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Pella Cross Country Coach says 2011 Senior Class Held Special Meaning for Him

As the focus of the high school sports scene shifts from fall programs to what will be starting soon for the winter season, many of the squads that competed in the fall take one final opportunity to reflect on the season and appreciate the team’s leaders – particularly the seniors. Pella High cross country coach Doug Cutler says while every year’s senior class adds a special dynamic to the team, this year’s group featured some athletes that he will especially miss.

“When I first arrived six years ago, I was actually in charge of the High School and Middle School programs, so we had three athletes – Mariah Vande Lune, Molly Neil, and Shawn Van Wheelden that I’ve gotten to coach for six years; so it will be particularly difficult to say goodbye to those three as they move on to the next step of life,” said Cutler.

“Just overall, we had tremendous growth in all our seniors. We had eight seniors this year who had never run cross country before that came out, so to get to know them a little bit better and have them bring a different viewpoint and excitement to the group was fantastic. It’s always hard to say goodbye to seniors.”

The Pella girls cross country squad finished third at this year’s State Meet, with the boys adding a sixth place finish. Both squads figure to be strong against next season, as several strong sophomore and junior runners will return to lead the team.