Husky girls fourth in battle of top cross-country teams

Sweet Home’s girls cross-country team placed fourth at the Paul Mariman Invitational at Philomath High School Saturday, which included nearly all the top teams in the 4A division.

The girls scored 114 points, led by Olivia Johnson’s third-place finish, behind Siuslaw (60), Hidden Valley (97) and Scappoose (110) and ahead of Cascade (118), Philomath (138) and Sisters (172).

On the boys side, Sweet Home was eighth with 190 points as La Salle put three finishers in the top 10 to win with 57 points and establish its credentials as the team to beat in the state championships. Philomath was second (65), Siuslaw third (88), Cottage Grove fourth (131) and Sisters sixth (152).

Despite the fact that the Huskies were running tired, they turned in some fast times, Coach Billy Snow said.

Johnson clocked her fastest 5000-meter time ever by nearly 30 seconds to finish in 19:34.52, behind winner Raelyn Robinson of Siuslaw (18:54.06) and North Bend’s Katie Romanko (19:27.01). The two ran side-by-side over the last mile until they hit the final 300 meters on the track, when Romanko outkicked Johnson.

“I thought that Olivia could run with that girl from North Bend,” Snow said. “I think she can beat her.

Second for the Huskies was Carissa Swanson in 16th (20:50.93), followed closely by Nicole Rasmussen in 18th (20:56.63), Paige Sanders (34th, 22:21.35), Caroline Amendola (51st, 23:21.60) and Jenna Kistner (53rd, 23:27.85).

Nick Hall placed 13th in a personal-best 17:07.48 to pace the varsity boys in a race won by Siuslaw freshman Mitchell Butler in 15:54.82. Kyle Hummer was second for the Huskies (17:53.29), followed by Daniel Danforth 39th, 18:01.88), Brett King (44th (18:09.40), Joe Stroud (69th, 19:04.24), Lorenzo Virgen (74th (19:09.93) and Alex Goetz (96th, 19:53.97). King’s time was a personal best by nearly two minutes and close to three minutes faster than his time on the Mariman course last year as freshman. Danforth’s time was also a personal best for 5000 meters, as was Hummer’s.

Snow said he put Sisters’ and Cottage Grove’s times up next to the Huskies’ Monday and his runners could see “visually where we’ve gotta be.

“They’re gettable,” he said of the other league teams, with the district race approaching on Oct. 28. “We have to get at least five guys under 18 (minutes). We’ve got two and two more are right under the door. I think we’ve got the guns there to do it. ”

Avery Shamek was 15th in the junior varsity race (19:48.63), Justin Stoner was 31st (20:33.87) and Anson Davis was 44th (21:12.64).

Kimber Swanson was the top finisher for Sweet Home in the girls JV race, in 12th place (25:25.81), followed by Tashana Mithen (23rd 26:51.54), Liz Egbert (32nd, 27:23.86) and Emily Egbert (27:30.16).

Neither the boys nor girls JV teams had enough runners to score in the team races.

The Huskies will run Saturday at the Bristow Rock n River Invite at Elijah Bristow State Park outside Pleasant Hill on another flat, fast course. Varsity races begin with the boys at 9:30 a.m., the girls at 10:15 and an open/JV race following at 11. Teams include Philomath, North Bend, and 5A-level Churchill, Marshfield and Crescent Valley.