Wiedenkeller looks to lead Falcon harriers

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Despite losing three seniors, the Catalina Foothills cross country team appears to be headed for another stellar season. The teams return four of their top five racers from last year's state cross country championship.

Leading the way is senior-to-be Tucker Wiedenkeller. Wiedenkeller finished 10th overall in state and helped lead the Falcons to a second place team finish at state.

"It's been really good," Wiedenkeller said just prior to the end of the track season. "I think I had a really good season."< /p>

Wiedenkeller was also very solid on the track., He took 6th in the 3200 and 12th in the 1600, the top finisher for the Falcons in each event.

Wiedenkeller is not the only standout runner coming back for the Falcons. Raul Gomez and Andy Lacy both had top-20 finishes last season. Gomez finished 14th, while Lacy took 16th place in the state meet.

Junior Will Harrison just missed the top-20, coming in 22nd.

The Falcons do lose a trio of solid runners. Jeff Brown was one of the most consistent performers for the Falcons, both cross country and on the track. He finished 13th at the state cross country meet and qualified for both the 1600 and the 3200.

They also lose the services of Curtis Miller and Mitch Kessler who finished 26th and 27th respectively at state.

Wiedenkeller will be called upon to be one of the leaders of the team. Not only is he the most consistent runner, but he's one of the two seniors who ran at state last year. Although it is a veteran team, there are not many experienced seniors.

One thing the team does have is competitive runners who push each other. One of the things both Brown and Wiedenkeller credited last season was competitive practices with a number of top notch runners pushing each other every day.

This could be seen last season when the team did a great job running in a pack and finishing fairly close together.

Wiedenkeller has been running since grade school, but has not always taken the sport seriously.

"During P.E. when we had to do the longer things (distances) I was always the last kid doing it," he explained.

That changed once he entered junior high when the light bulb went off about how he and the sport clicked.

"I kind of started out thinking I was good at it in middle school," Wiedenkeller explained. "By eighth grade I was doing pretty well, breaking school records."

Wiedenkeller and the rest of the team hope they can continue doing pretty well. With much of last year's team back, they are looking to improve upon last season's second place finish with a state title.