Girls place eighth in state cross-country meet

Scott Swanson

Of The New Era

The Sweet Home girls cross-country team has proved consistent this year, a quality that helped them win their first district title in 14 years on Oct. 27.

That consistency held up Saturday, Nov. 3, when the Huskies, in their first trip as a team to the state cross-country championship meet since 1995, finished eighth in a field of 14 teams at Lane Community College.

It was a good day for both the girls, and the three boys who qualified to run as individuals, Coach Billy Snow said.

“I am really proud of the whole group who ran, he said. “Usually at state it is a mixed bag with some kids running well and others off. Not today for us. We ran what we were capable of or a little bit more to a person. It is a great way to cap off a great season.”

As she has all season, senior Amanda Basham led Sweet Home girls, finishing 24th, in a field of 122 runners, in 20:36. Fellow senior Ashley Danielson, the only member of the team who has run cross-country for four years, finished her career in 50th place, in 21:37. Immediately behind her were freshmen Olivia Johnson in 51st place (21:38) and Carissa Swanson in 52nd (21:41). Justine Calhoon, another senior, rounded out the scoring for Sweet Home, finishing 92nd in 22:57. The Huskies other runners were sophomore Jill Mahler (97th, 23:15) and freshman Jenna Kistner (112th, 24:23), a season-best by 37 seconds by Kistner on a course that wasn’t particularly fast.

Junior Taylor Wallace of Henley ran away from the field to win the individual title by over a minute in 18:13, ahead of second-place finisher Ashley Mayfield of Seaside (19:18).

Siuslaw won its fourth straight team title with three finishers in the top 15 on its way to 58 points, over second-place Sisters, which scored 98 by packing in its early finishers in 14th, 18th and 19th places.

Philomath, the other qualifier from the Val-Co League, placed ninth, just behind Sweet Home, with 254 points as senior Yessenia Alverado finished two spots behind Basham, in 20:41.

Snow said the Huskies beat the teams he thought they could.

“I thought our girls could get to seventh on a great day and if a team or two in front of us faltered,” he said. “We took care of business but so did those other teams. The one team that really drpped, Mollala, was just too far out and too deep for us, or anyone except Suislaw to catch.

“But the girls beat the teams I thought they could, along with Scappoose, who really toasted us at the Paul Mariman meet at Philomath.”

He noted that Sweet Home’s girls put their second through fourth runners in front of Philomath’s fourth and their fifth and sixth in front of the Warriors’ fifth runner.

“The score reflects that because we really distanced ourselves from them,” Snow said. “What a great group of girls.”

Danielson, who captained this year’s team, said her second trip to state, after qualifying as an individual last year, was more enjoyable, partly because the weather was improved over last year.

“I think this year was better –it wasn’t so muddy,” she said.

Danielson said she didn’t expect much as one of two returning varsity runners this year, but things came together for the Huskies after Basham and Calhoon decided to run, after playing volleyball and water polo, respectively, last year.

“We didn’t have anybody coming back for the girls,” she said. “But then we got Amanda and Justine and the freshmen improved.

“We did really well.”

In the boys race, Sweet Home had three entrants as sophomore Jayce Calhoon, who just missed qualifying on Oct. 27, got to go after all after Trevor Hoagland of Taft withdrew. Senior Ramiro Santana led the Huskies with a 50th-place finish in 17:30, in a field of 125 runners, followed by senior Brinden Sanders (57th, 17:42) and Calhoon, who finished 77th in 18:08 despite falling early in the race.

Philomath, the Val-Co district champion, placed third behind North Bend and Marist, while Central was 11th out of 14 teams.

On a sunny, cool day with a relatively dry course, all the Huskies managed to run well, Snow said.

“For every kid but Jayce, Olivia and Jenna, everyone had their best run, time-wise, of the season other than our two flat courses – Junction City and Elmira,” he said. “Jayce had his fourth-best time (of the season), just two second gehind Districts and that is with going down.”

Johnson’s time was her fourth-best of the season, but that was “because she had such a studly race at Districts” the week before, Snow said.

Of particular note were Danielson and Santana, the only two runners who had been to state before. Both ran personal bests for the course, Santana by 44 seconds and Danielson by 1:20.

Santana said he felt better this year, probably because he was in better shape.

“I think Coach Snow did tougher workouts this year,” he said. “Especially hills. People think those hills (on the state meet course) don’t affect you but they do. I was hoping for a little faster time, but…”

Snow said Santana did run better this week than at districts.

“Ramiro was in front of some of the Val-Co kids that beat him the week before and Brinden was just behind him,” Snow said. “Too bad we did not have the whole guys team here because if those three are any indication, our guys would have outrun Central today.”

“No one can be down about those results,” he said.

Girls 4A Cross-Country

Championship results

Team Results: 1.Siuslaw, 58; 2. Sisters, 98; 3. Molalla, 105; 4. Phoenix, 115; 5. North Bend, 127; 6. Marist, 144; 7. Hidden Valley, 145; 8. Sweet Home, 195; 9. Philomath, 254; 10. Scappoose, 261; 11. La Salle, 284; 12. Astoria, 292; 13. Baker, 296; 14. La Grande, 358.

Individual Results: 1. Taylor Wallace, Henley, 18:13; 2. Ashley Mayfield, Seaside, 19:18; 3. Meghan Whalen, Marist, 19:22; 4. Samantha Pummer, Siuslaw, 19:28; 5. Ally Manley, Brookings, 19:35; 6. Patricia Guterrez, Cottage Grove, 19:44; 7. Lauren Loutzenhiser, Molalla, 19:47; 8. Jennifer Hague, Siuslaw, 19:49; 9. Mikayla Bradbury, Molalla, 19:51; 10. Jordi Hurd, Phoenix; 24. Amanda Basham, Sweet Home, 20:36;

Boys 4A Cross-Country

Championships results

Team Results: 1. North Bend, 52; 2. Marist, 54; 3. Philomath, 138; 4. Sisters, 143; 5. Hidden Valley, 152; 6. Siuslaw, 161; 7. Phoenix, 191; 8. La Salle, 203; 9. Tillamook, 209; 10. Scappoose, 217; 11. Central, 239; 12. Molalla, 273; 13. Baker, 327; 14. La Grande, 333

Individual Results: 1. Elliot Jantzer, Phoenix, 15:35; 2. Spenser Lynass, North Bend, 15:44; 3. Trevor Berrian, North Bend, 16:12; 4. Steve Garboden, North Bend, 16:24; 5. Parker Unruh, La Salle, 16:27; 6. Kyle Jackson, Marist, 16:28; 7. Michael Bellamy, Marist, 16:31; 8. Conner Kasler, Hidden Valley, 16:32; 9. Miguel Velez, Tillamook, 16:33; 10. Travis Stevens, Siuslaw, 16:35; 50. Ramiro Santana, Sweet Home, 17:30; 57. Brinden Sanders, Sweet Home, 17:42; 77. Jayce Calhoon, Sweet Home, 18:08.