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With a new divisional alignment the Sedona Red Rock High School cross country team will be hoping to make its way to the top of the hill in 2010.

The Scorpions Cross Country Team is looking to climb its way to the top this fall, hoping a Division IV cross country championship is within its reach. The Sedona Red Rock High School cross country program is in its fifth year of existence under Head Coach Harry Schneider.Entering its fifth year of existence, the cross country program at Sedona hasn’t taken long to get this far and is looking to go all the way in 2010 and become a state championship team for the first time in school history.

Finishing fourth overall in the 3A conference state championships last season, the boys lost super seniors Jesus Rivera and Garrett Debs to graduation.

In Sedona, however, teams under Head Coach Gary Schneider don’t usually rebuild, they reload.

For the girls, Sedona finished second overall behind eventual state champion Chinle High School in 2009, but the key to their season this fall is almost everyone is back in uniform.

Top returners for the boys include junior Alan Myers, who took 25th overall as a sophomore in last fall’s state championships, earning himself an All-State honor.

Senior Taylor Webber is probably the No. 2 runner behind Myers and is raring to go this fall.

Juniors Brandon Snickers, Gabe Greenfield and Zac Johnson are also back and should compete well this season with Myers.

As for the newcomers, the boys have several looking to crack the starting lineup including senior Jacob Seeman, and a quintet of freshmen that even surprised Schneider.

“Some of these young kids coming up are fantastic. They’ve got what it takes and should add to our team nicely this season,” Schneider said.

Led by freshman Travis Okie, who is expected to make the top five on varsity, freshmen Chris Swaim, Austin Mix, Jule Johnson and Umberto Rivera have impressed already only a few weeks into their high school careers.

For the girls, the best word to describe the Scorpions is “loaded.”

Senior Hope Goimarac returns for her final season looking to finish in the top 10 at state after taking 15th overall in 2009, earning her All-State honors.

The true cream of the crop, however, lies within the sophomore class. As freshmen, Mykala Seresun, Eva Wilson and Taylor Gage finished in the top 52 last season with Seresun taking fifth overall.

Sophomore Rachel Lillie is also in the mix, making it a dominant class of runners who could rattle off two, if not three, state titles in the next three seasons for Sedona.

Top newcomers for Sedona on the girls team include freshmen standouts Tatiana Chionis and Gabriella Simon. Both will push for varsity spots this season, despite the talent at the top of the list according to Schneider.

Also included in the newcomer group are junior exchange students Marie Vullmar and Natlie Bogoslaw. Both are from Germany.

“We have a talented group of girls this season and I expect great things,” Schneider said.

The Scorpions are scheduled to begin their season Wednesday, Sept. 8, when they travel to participate in the Payson Invitational.

Big meets for Sedona this season include the Four Corners Invitational at Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, the Yavapai County Invitational in Chino Valley and the Division IV State Championships in Phoenix.

With the new divisional alignment, Sedona will focus on trying to defeat Hopi High School, one of the best cross country programs in the nation, having won something in the neighborhood of 20 state championships.

“Our program is just beginning and we’re trying to build a tradition here, not unlike Hopi,” Schneider said.

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