Oregon Cross Country

Mt. Hood Conference


Impressive races won by Galen Rupp and Shannon McKenzie

from a DyeStat correspondent

PORTLAND OR 10/9/02 -- Had an interesting day today, as we were scheduled to go out to dinner but decided first to attend the Mt. Hood Conference - Portland Athletic Conference meet at Franklin High School. Grant, Lincoln & Central Catholic were the high light teams, although there were a few others.

The course is a rather challenging 5K well beyond what is usually the case here. The times might not look awesome, but given the course, they were very good. The temperature was pleasant in the mid-60's - great for running. The boy's field was quite loaded individually yet somehow rather anti-climatic after the girl's race. Central Catholic's Galen Rupp on the other hand is for real. If he retains the form that I saw today he will be a force to reckon with not just at state but at Footlocker.

Boys race

At the gun Galen Rupp went to the front & held a slight lead over Mike McGrath, while the Grant pair of Alec Wall & Joaquin Chapa trailed maybe as far as the 1000 meter mark. The Franklin course runs into an earthen bowl, which surrounds the track and as they headed up the hill coming out of the bowl for the first time Rupp opened a gap. McGrath attempted to close the gap but was clearly struggling. At no point did the Grant duo attempt to close.

McGrath fell back soon after rounding the turn on the backstretch & in less than 200 yards was quickly passed by the tandem from Grant. Rupp seemed to disappear into the distance as the Grant teammates were no longer working together, yet even at that point they were steadily pulling away from McGrath.

McGrath had apparently used up far too much strength in trying to stay with Rupp that he appeared to be a broken runner and soon found himself trailing Scott Wall and his teammate Duke Wasteney. It was only upon entering the stadium that he appeared to revive and surged to get back to fourth place just a bit in front of the younger Wall..

Rupp seemed to be in cruise control as he moved effortlessly and fluidly. One could sense he was flying, yet at times seemed to be on a joy run. Certainly the last half of the race there was no doubt as to the outcome. The course record on the challenging course was somewhere around 15:57 and Galen destroyed it at 15:24. Wall trailed in a distant, although excellent, 15:44 with Jacquin also breaking the record with a 15:54. As for McGrath he some how came in at 16:04 slightly ahead of Scott Wall, who was credited with the same time. The improving Duke Wastening was not far behind & came in only three seconds behind and half a minute ahead of his closest pursuer.

The team scores were Grant (2-3-5-10-13) = 33, Lincoln (4-6-7-12-15) = 44 & Central Catholic (1-9-14-16-18) = 58.

Girls race

Although the team race was over long before the meet was half finished, the girl’s individual race was a great one. Team-wise Grant took 5 of the top nine places: 2-3-5-6-9 for 25 points. At that point Barlow was able to get in their top three. Central Catholic had a runner in 8th & Lincoln managed a 10th.

As sugested the individual race was as good as anyone could ever hope to see. Grant's Annaliese Chapa seized the lead almost immediately and headed up the hill. She pushed the pace throughout the first lap. The Franklin course is a good XC course with worthy hills and, as they ran down the hill and onto the track for the first time, Annaliese had a lead of probably 30 yards. The first sign of what was to come was on the hill exiting the bowl. It is a good & reasonably steep hill and Chapa headed into it with a distinct lead of 20 yards.

Shannon McKenzie of Barlow, however, visibly charged the hill breaking away from the second pack of two Grant girls & a Barlow team mate. What was impressive was the look in her eyes, as she neared the top, focusing on the lead & obviously paying no concern for those who trailed still closely behind.

As they rounded the backstretch having nearly completed the first loop McKenzie moved to within 5-10 yards but almost immediately lost ground on the ensuing hill. This set the tone for the next part of the race as Annaliese Chapa would lose a bit of ground on the flat, increase the lead markedly on the downhill & then lose it on the next upgrade. Going into the bowl for the second this was the case, and I recall mentioning to a friend that, if she was going to have a chance, Shannon was going to have to come out of the bowl strongly. That she did, for she not only made up the deficit but grabbed maybe a three yard lead.

Annaliese had a great deal of heart, however, and was not about to go down without a fight. On the flat backstretch she made a move & caught up as they rounded the far turn. From a distance they ran as one seemingly having only one set of legs. She made a surge off the turn which was covered by Shannon. Charging down the hill near the start Chapa once again took the lead with McKenzie falling five yards behind & then reeling her back in within another 30 yards. It appeared that both girls attempted surges with a half mile to go, yet they never really separated.

Coming back into the bowl heading onto the track Chapa again took a slight lead on the downhill yet not as she had in previous ones. Once on the track Shannon surged slightly ahead but the move was immediately covered by Chapa. Coming off the last turn a final surge clinched the race for McKenzie.

Having viewed this impressive race run by two heady competitors I can not say that anyone really lost the race. The final results will show a winning time of about 19:23 with 2nd place about a second off the pace. Some times final results can be a bit misleading, as in the end it was a privilege to be able to view such a grand effort on both their parts.

DyeStat Oregon


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