Cross Country Progressing

Scott Swanson

Sweet Home cross-country is progressing in multiple ways this season, and five more runners got their first taste of real competition Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Northwest Classic meet at Lane Community College. Plus, sophomore Mckenzie Miller dipped under 21 minutes for the first time, running 20:25 a 32-second personal best, and freshman Conner Spencer posted a nearly 40-second PR in the boys varsity race, finishing in 19:56, the first finish under the 20-minute mark for Sweet Home in the last two seasons. “We had another good meet,” said Coach Dave Martin, noting that all but one of his runners had personal bests as his team hit the midway mark in their regular-season schedule. “We continue to make overall progress, week in, week out, with people getting PR’s. We’re getting our times down. Overall, I’m pleased.”

Miller led the varsity girls with a sixth-place finish in a field of 100 runners, representing some of the top programs in Oregon at the 1A through 4A levels. Philomath junior Adele Beckstead was the winner in 19:23, followed by sophomore Ana Candanoza (19:39), leading the Warriors to a team win. Sweet Home only had four runners in the race, so could not score as a team.

Rylee Markell was 30th in 22:27, just 10 seconds off the PR she set the previous week at Oregon City, followed by Peyton Markell, 69th in 25:15, and Amelia Sullens, 82nd in 27:06. Both Markells and Sullens are doubling with soccer and cross-country. In the varsity boys race, Spencer was 67th in a field of 131 runners, followed by sophomore Jim Morgan, 72nd in 20:06, which was a PR of nearly a minute and a half for him. Behind Morgan was Cannon Klumph, 88th in 20:53, nearly a minute PR in his second 5,000, and Kasey Kast, 101st in 21:27, which was approximately a 30-second PR in his second 5,000. Klumph, a sophomore, is also doubling with soccer. “I was impressed with Conner,” Martin said. “He’s the first guy in a couple of years to break into the 19’s. He works hard. I was really impressed with his race.”

In the boys junior varsity 5000 race, freshman Trent Harvey ran 21:25 to finish 39th out of 245 runners to pace the Huskies to a 17th-place team finish out of 22 teams. “I thought Trent had a very solid race,” Martin said.

Behind him were sophomore Keagan Vogel, 121st in 23:37; junior Christian Justham, 170th in 25:37 in his first-ever cross-country race; junior Shayne Schuster, 192nd in 26:42; and junior Jonathan Pointer, 218th in 28:15 in his first cross-country competition.

On the girls JV side, freshman Noelle Helfrich was 46th out of 102 runners, finishing in 27:45; sophomore Delanie Pratt was 56th in 28:19; junior Koharu Yasuda was 63rd in 29:47; and sophomore Rylie Hollingsworth was 74th in 31:12. It was the first cross-country race for Helfrich, Yasuda and Hollingsworth, Martin noted. “For five people, their first race was a 5K,” he said. “That can be daunting. “I was really pleased with Noelle. I thought she ran a brilliant race, a really strong race. Everybody ran well.”

In the middle school races, Sweet Home’s Cassie Spencer, a seventh-grader, was second out of 163 runners in a 45-second PR of 11:58 over the 3,000-meter course, with eighth-grader Emma Whitton immediately behind in 11:59. The winner was eighth-grader Miley Morical of High Desert in Bend, who ran 11:16, a personal best by nearly 50 seconds. Seventh-grader Kali Vogel, in her first-ever cross-country race, was 69th in 15:44.

For the boys, eighth-grader Evan Malabago was 40th out of 223 runners in 12:30, while Wes Goff, also an eighth-grader, was 43rd in 12:41. Both PR’d by just under a minute. Eighth-grader Eli Adams finished 185th in 17:59, a nearly two-minute personal best. “It was another good meet,” Martin said. “We’re getting times down. We’re continuing to make progress.