Boys 6A - NW#9 Central Catholic Holds off NW#10 Jesuit Behind Taylor Morgan’s Gutsy Individual Win
The Oregon state meet announcer had already declared that the Boys 6A race was decided by a mere two points, and was allowing that information to hang in the air, building the anticipation. Central Catholic’s seven were standing nearby, side-by-side with their arms on each other’s shoulders. Jesuit’s varsity squad was six feet away, huddled in a tight circle, facing inward, awaiting the verdict.
“Second place,” the announcer said, “with 58 points...Jesuit.”
While every head in the Crusader huddle collapsed in disappointment, Central Catholic began celebrating a successful--and whisper-thin--defense of their 2005 state title. They did it behind the individual effort of junior Taylor Morgan, who triumphed over Canby’s Sean Coleman (15:53-16:01) in a thrilling 300-meter track sprint to the finish line.
Morgan had the lead heading to the track after surging in the third mile. “At about a half mile [to go] I decided it’s now or never,” he said, “so I gave it everything I had.” Justifiably feared on the track, Morgan was nevertheless pushed to the limit by Coleman’s bold sprint from third to first.
“I thought that passing Taylor at the rate I did would break him,” an exhausted Coleman said after the showdown, “but obviously he had something left. Pre’s Olympic race was going through my head...I thought I could change the outcome.”
Morgan was trying to affect an outcome of his own, the team title race. Running through his head during the final strides, he noted, was this thought: “I can’t let all my teammates down. I’ve got to do this for my team.”
He wasn’t the only one. Central Catholic coach Dave Frank highlighted the efforts of Luke Wiltshire (7th 16:13), rounding into shape after an early season marred by injury and illness, and Kevin O’Malley, who gutted his way through a sore foot to emerge as the Ram’s fourth man (18th 16:38).
Jesuit threw everything they had at Central Catholic in an effort to steal the win, including a 5th man, Andy Kiyokawa (26th 16:42), who hadn’t appeared in their varsity line-up all season. Top gun Brian Manning wove desperately through traffic down the homestretch to secure 5th in 16:05, and teammates Peter Maag and Sam Larson placed 9th and 10th to match Central Catholic with three in the top 10. “We wanted to get our pack into position and keep our guys together,” Larson said, “because that’s how we run the best. We thought we did that well.” They did, but it wasn’t quite enough.
A city rivalry that has produced many memorable races, and now split the last five state XC titles in Oregon’s largest division, added another brilliant chapter with the 56-58 decision Saturday.
Girls 6A - NW#3 Jesuit Rolls to an Expected Team Win as Sheldon’s Casey Masterson Pulls Away for the Individual Title
Make it five in a row for the Jesuit girls, as they successfully defended their ’05 state title and turned back a well-regarded Sunset team, 56-101. As they have all season, Noelle VanRysselberghe (4th-18:52), Adrienne McGuirk (5th 18:56) and Katie Sullivan (10th-19:16) led the way for the Crusaders, matching their male counterparts with 3 scorers in the top 10. Jesuit was expected to win the race handily, and they did, even if their normally tight pack was spread a bit thin by the rugged Lane County CC layout.
Interviewed after receiving their first place trophy, the Jesuit girls couldn't stop smiling about their latest title, but admitted they were hoping to make an impression beyond the borders of Oregon with their win, and were eager to check on the performance of NW#4 Gig Harbor in the Washington State meet and NW#2 Billings Senior in the Rocky Mountain Region Championship meet.
In the individual race, Sheldon’s Casey Masterson surged away from Clackamas senior Claire Michel in the third mile for a comfortable 20-second margin, running 18:25 to Michel’s 18:45. “I wanted to stay with Claire,” she said after the race, “run with her and see if could hang in until the end.” Masterson attacked the downhills in an attempt to put some distance on Michel, and said she felt strong when she hit the track with the lead, but, “I knew it was going to hurt, I didn’t really want to sprint, but you don’t have a choice at the end.” Scrawled in thick marker on her arms and legs (upside down on her legs, so she could read it) was the phrase WE NOT ME, a reminder that the individual title wasn’t just for Masterson, but for the other six seniors on the Sheldon varsity who competed with her.
5A Boys - Keyser Gaps the Field and Leads His Crater Team to the Title
Crater’s Jake Keyser had a disarmingly simple race plan: “I wanted to go out and lead the first mile, hammer the second mile, and give everything I had in that third one.” Talk about a well-executed strategy. Keyser thoroughly trounced the field to win in the fastest boy’s time of the day, regardless of division, dropping a 15:43 to second place Kevin Elder’s (St. Helens) 16:02. “I thought someone else might be up there,” Keyser said afterwards, “but I was trying to make it so that would be tough.” Apparently, he succeeded.
If Keyser seemed distracted in the post-race interview, it was because he was wondering how his teammates fared behind him in the battle for the team trophy. He didn’t need to worry, as the Crater boys crammed 4 runners in the top 15 to score the 41-74 win over Klamath Union and make it a great day to be a Comet.
5A Girls - Sherwood’s Paulson Defends Her Title; Ashland Stacks the Pack for the Win
At the start of the race, Sherwood’s diminutive Ilsa Paulson charged to the front of a narrowing phalanx of runners and never looked back. Hermiston’s Jennifer Macias stayed close through a mile and half, but eventually Paulson’s daunting pace took its toll. By the time she emerged from the blackberry bushes that line the course’s three ponds, Paulson was all alone. After the race, she allowed that the ambitious early pace had affected her as well. “It kind of did me in at the end...I felt like I was jogging at the end because my legs were shot. But it worked out.” It certainly did. Paulson got the 18:54 win, for two state XC titles in a row, and Macias hung on for second with her 19:19.
In the team race, Ashland’s pack put together a 47-second spread and scored five in the top fifteen to turn back a Hermiston squad led by a 2-4 finish from Macias and Shoni Schimmel (4th 19:30). The final margin was 58-78.
4A Boys - Henley’s Waugh in a Thrilling Stretch Drive; North Bend Edges Estacada
In one of the most thrilling finishes of the day, Henley’s Darrick Waugh stormed from third place onto the track in the final quarter mile, turning what appeared to be a two-man race between North Bend’s Spenser Lynass and Phoenix’s Elliott Jantzer into a three-way battle. “I’m an 800 runner,” the tall, powerful Waugh said afterwards, “so that’s what I like about the finish [of the state course].” Waugh surged through the track’s far turn and escaped with a 16:11 win over Lynass (2nd 16:13) and Jantzer (3rd 16:16). “I just focused on their backs,” he said, explaining his strategy. “In your head you still want it, even though your body’s done.”
The team competition resembled a round of Family Feud, with North Bend’s Spenser and Sam Lynass and Trevor and Travis Berrian contributing to the 76-84 win over Estacada’s line-up of (among others) Rob and Troy Prettyman and Ivan and Gilmer Gongora.
4A Girls - Michels Succeeds on Faith, While Siuslaw’s Seniors Celebrate 3-Straight
Like many winners on Saturday, Cascade’s Linsie Michels appreciated the fact that the state meet concludes with 300 meters on the track. “Once I got to the track,” she said, “that’s when I knew...it’s my home.” She tore across her home with abandon, distancing 2nd place Hayley Belli with a drive to the finish that found her eleven seconds clear, 19:02 to 19:13. Michels said she came into the meet relaxed, “placing the race in God’s hands and trusting that God would take care of it.”
Shrouded in crinkly silver warming blankets after the race, Siuslaw’s Sierra Lee (8th 20:02) and Jennifer Hague (9th 20:09) were ebullient about their team’s third state title in a row. On the strength of a line-up featuring three seniors in the top five, and a commitment to pack running, Siuslaw beat a tough Molalla squad, 50-66. Asked about their team-racing tactics, Lee giggled, “You want us to divulge out secrets?” The only secret, it seemed, was hard work and team togetherness. “Being together [in races] helps a lot,” Hague said. Lee nodded in agreement. “I talked to Kaylee [Gruber] the whole time,” she said, “I told her how much I needed her to be there.”
1A/2A/3A Boys - McKenzie’s Sherman Recovers from a Late Fall to Preserve the Win; Catlin Gabel Picks up the Division Sweep
When David Sherman crossed onto the blue track at Lane County CC for the final 300 meters, he surged clear of Regis’ David Rannabargar and appeared to have the race well in hand. Ten minutes later, he was still reeling from his finish and wearing pieces of that track on his shoulder and in blue smears down his leg. Ten meters from the finish, a wobbly Sherman collapsed to the track, drawing a collective gasp from the assembled throng on the slope along the homestretch. “When I hit the ground I just hoped I could get up fast enough,” he said later, “I knew I was close.” With a re-energized Rannabargar bearing down, Sherman scrambled up and staggered across the line for the 16:26 win. Rannabargar was three seconds back in 16:29.
The boys from Catlin Gabel used four scorers in the top twenty to secure an 88-132 win over Westside Christian, and complete the division sweep initiated earlier in the day by the Catlin Gabel girls.
1A/2A/3A Girls - Balovino’s Time Holds Up Until the 6A Race; Catlin Gabel Starts the Sweep
In the first mile, Lakeview freshman Ashley Baldovino bolted to the sort of lead that had spectators tossing around phrases like over-ambitious and a bit too excited and she’ll come back. She never did. Seizing a 30-meter lead less than a mile into the race, Baldovino hit the track two miles later with a lead that stretched the length of the straightaway. “I pushed it really hard in the beginning,” she said. “I’m someone who really likes trails.” She expected a big pack that never materialized, at least around her, and cruised to an 18:47 win that was the fastest of the day until the 6A girls ran; the time would have placed her 3rd in that field.
In the team competition, Catlin Gabel’s girls packed all five scorers into top-25 positions to seal a 74-130 won over Coquille and start a division sweep their boys would complete later in the day.
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