Oakville boys’ program making strides

Oakville High runners ready to go the distance this year.

Oakville High head coach Mike Bishop believes all signs are pointing toward a good year for his boys cross country team. Bill Milligan photo

Oakville High head coach Mike Bishop believes all signs are pointing toward a good year for his boys’ cross country team. Bill Milligan photo

By BILL MILLIGAN

Veteran Oakville Senior High School head coach Mike Bishop is optimistic about the 2011 season for his boys’ cross country team.

“The signs are we’re going to have a pretty good team,” Bishop told the Call. “Boys and girls together, there are about 45 athletes out for cross country this year.”

The roster is led by two-time All-State finisher Jake Bast, who is back for his senior year.

Also in camp this year is Brian Whaley, who likes the cross country program when there is no baseball to pitch.

Returning to the program are Kyle Moran, Aaron Wood, Dan Zingrich and Nick Popielewski and junior Ben Reed, brother of a former Tiger front runner.

Freshman Sean Stumpf is another brother of a Tiger alum.

“We’re top heavy in juniors and seniors,” Bishop said. “We expect more to come out when school starts.”

Bishop is encouraged by the eight athletes who are in their fourth year of cross country and he hopes the experience will help as the season advances to the state finals.

Once a program that could not field enough athletes to qualify as a team, Oakville now plans on two junior varsity teams and one varsity program this season.

“We plan to get out of districts and go on from there,” Bishop said.