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Easton Valley River Hawks Aidan Gruver paces himself while running for cross country practice last week. Gruver, who also plays football, says he hopes to qualify for state this year.

What the Easton Valley cross country team lacks in team size it may make up for at the finish line, according to cross country coach Mike Kelly.

“We don’t have a lot of runners this season, but we have some runners that could be in the top group at the finish line,” Kelly said before the cross country season started.

On the girls’ team, exchange student Sofia Santos of Spain offers some track experience. Kelly said he will lean heavily on Lindsey Reuter, Molly Matthiesen, Shyanna Bowling and Santos. 

On the boys’ team, “Aidan Gruver just keeps improving his times,” Kelly said. 

Gruver, a senior, is doing double-duty this season, participating in both cross country and football. 

“My goal is to qualify for the state cross country meet, and our team qualify for the state football play-offs this fall,” Gruver said. Coach Kelly and football coach Tony Johnson plan to work with Gruver so he stays “in top health and to watch him so he does not push himself too much,” Kelly said.

 

EV football recruits larger roster

Easton Valley football coach Tony Johnson is really excited for his football team again this season. 

“We have the biggest squad since I have here,” Johnson said. “Last year we had 20 bodies out for football and six were seniors. This year we have 28 student athletes on the team. 

“We had good speed last year; I feel we have more team speed this season. Speed is a huge advantage in football but in 8-man football in is really important to protect the edge.”

The River Hawks have an advantage with the return of quarterback Conor Gruver, who “got another year under his belt and is ready to hit the field full speed ahead,” the coach said. 

The River Hawks kick off the season this Friday in Preston against a team that has defeated them the last two years — Don Bosco. Don Bosco beat the River Hawks in the regular season last season and defeated them in the quarterfinals two years ago. 

“Our goals this year are to go undefeated win our District and advance to Cedar Falls and the UNI-Dome,” Johnson said. 

 

EV netters enhance outside hitting strategies

Longtime Easton Valley volleyball coach Denise Larson anticipates solid teamwork from a deep team this year.

“We have good numbers which gives us a deep team,” she said. “We are working hard on passing to the right spot and getting the volleyball to the right people.”

“We have to develop more depth in our outside hitters; right now we only have one person we go to,” Larson added. “We need to develop more options — the more options we have the harder it is to defend. 

That’ll force the EV’s volleyball opponents to spread out their defense to guard multiple hitters and not simply key in a single EV hitter, Larson explained.

The River Hawks opened the season at home in Miles Monday, Aug. 23, against the Bellevue Comets. The River Hawks also host a tournament at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 28.