Husky boys, 2 girls clinch berths in state cross-country meet

Sweet Home’s boys cross-country team qualified for the state championships Saturday with a second-place finish in the Val-Co district meet at Newport High School.

It is the first time since 2000 that the Husky boys have made state as a team.

Cassandra Schumacher, who has been one of the top runners in the league all year, and Ashley Danielson also qualified, as individuals for the state meet, which will be held Saturday at Lane Community College.

Sweet Home’s boys were edged by Philomath, a team they have closely trailed all year, by two points, 43-45, based on the finishes of each team’s top five runners. Central was third with 52 points, followed by Taft (74) and Newport (139).

Peter VanDerlip was the top finisher for the boys, placing fifth in 17:36, with Jess Keys right behind him in sixth (17:41). The two went out fast on what Coach Billy Snow said was a slow course for the entire field, with some sharp turns that slowed runners down. They stayed in a lead pack of eight runners till the end of the race, when VanDerlip put forth a “gallant” effort to try to finish fourth, Snow said. Keys outkicked runners from Taft and Philomath to follow his teammate in.

The Huskies’ Jake Smith was ninth overall (18:00), Ramiro Santana 11th (18:11), Robert Callagan 14th (18:35), Josh Rice 20th (19:14) and Dallin Holden 24th (19:26) .

“We were the first team to have five runners across and had the smallest gap between the first and fifth runner,” Snow said. “We just needed a couple of place switches along the way. That was a superb effort by our guys and the closest we have been to Philomath since mid-September at our place.”

Schumacher finished second, as she has in other races this year, to Philomath’s Hayley Belli. She was in a second group behing Belli for about a mile, then ran alone as she widened the gap between herself and the rest of the field behind Belli, who won in 19:07.

Schumacher qualified as the first of four individual runners for state with her second-place finish in 20:38. Ashley Danielson and Jessica Trautwein ran together until the final half mile, when Danielson pulled away and was able to hold off a Taft runner to grab an individual qualifying spot with a seventh-place finish in 22:36.

Trautwein, who developed a side stitch, managed to run 23:02 for 13th place. Jill Mahler (22nd, 25:18), Staci Grove (25th, 26:17) and Lacey Hightower (29th, 30:22) also finished for the Huskies, who placed third with 68 points, behind Newport and Philomath, who tied wth 47. Newport ended up the winner, as its sixth runner placed higher than Philomath’s. Central (83) and Taft (99) rounded out the field.

In the junior varsity boys race, Land Florek led wire to wire for the Huskies – with a shoe untied – to finish in 18:48. KC Hansam was third (19:07), followed by Nikki Smith (sixth, 19:32), Dustin Colman (11th, 19:48), Byron Sanders (12th, 19:49) and David Rinehart (30th, 24:05).

Philomath won the JV boys race with 28 points, followed by the Huskies (33), Central (66) and Newport (93).

In the JV girls race, Afton Rodgers and Louise Wilcox put a positive stamp on the end of their season by running “really well,” Snow said. Rodgers finished seventh in 31:23, while Wilcox ran ninth in 40:36.