Oakville High girls’ cross country team looking to leave its competition in the dust

‘Quality’ of Oakville athletes keeps Zimmerman coaching.

The Oakville High girls cross country team plans to put its best foot forward during the 2010 season. Bill Milligan photo

The Oakville High girls’ cross country team plans to put its best foot forward during the 2010 season. Bill Milligan photo

By BILL MILLIGAN

For the first time in nearly a decade, the Oakville Senior High School girls’ cross country squad has enough athletes to field a varsity and junior varsity team.

“We’ve got the most girls we’ve had the last three years,” head coach Bill Zimmerman said. “We have 15 girls out right now, so our numbers are up a little bit.”

“Coach Zimmerman has got the girls’ team’s numbers up to where we can enter teams in almost every event,” boys’ cross country head coach Mike Bishop said.

Those athletes come from a variety of places.

“We have some freshmen,” Zimmerman said. “One girl came out from the swim team. I think she’s gonna do well.

“I just found out today we have an exchange student from Italy. Her name is Petra Oberhollenzer. Today was her first workout. She looks pretty good.”

The Tigers had one runner last season who nearly qualified for the state’s championship race, Taylor Schellenberg.

“Taylor made it to sectionals last year,” he said. “She missed state by two places … She played soccer in the spring so she’s in pretty good shape.”

Zimmerman is counting on contributions from the rest of his experienced runners.

“We have Rachel Siverly, who was on our track team. those are our top two returners,” he said of Schellenberg and Siverly.

Freshman Alexis Palmer will be called on this year as well as sophomore Caitlin Kennedy.

“Caitlin has looked good, she’s a sophomore runner who I thought all last year was going to blossom,” Zimmerman said. “Maybe this will be her year.

“They’re working hard. You couldn’t ask for any better kids. They get along well. That’s what keeps me here. Not the wins and losses but the quality of kids we get here at Oakville for cross country.”

Zimmerman was pleased with the performance of his freshman and sophomore groups last year.

“They finished third in our conference and of course we have a good conference,” he said.

The Suburban West Conference has changed somewhat this season. Kirkwood, a cross country powerhouse the past few seasons, has left the conference. But no one is celebrating.

“We lost Kirkwood, but we get Eureka. They’re about the same,” he said.

Oakville Girls’ Cross Country

Sept. 1 Tune Up Meet A 4 p.m.

Sept. 3 Lutheran South Inv. JB 4 p.m.

Sept. 9 Webster Invitational A 4 p.m.

Sept. 16 Parkway Central Inv. A 4 p.m.

Sept. 21 Fox Invitational A 4 p.m.

Oct. 1 Ladue Invitational A 4 p.m.

Oct. 7 Zimmerman Inv. JB 4 p.m.

Oct. 9 Conference A 4 p.m.

Oct. 14 Parkway Invitational A 4 p.m.

Oct. 23 Districts A TBA

Oct. 30 Sectionals A TBA