Lovik 10th, Snow 56th at state cross country meet

John Lovik and Megan Snow took their place among the best Sweet Home cross country runners of all time at the state meet held last Saturday at Lane Community College.

Unbeknownst to coach Billy Snow, Lovik had a goal of 16:30 written on his hand. He must have been psychic on this day because he finished in 16:31, good for 10th place and second team all state honors.

Lovik’s strategy was to stay with the runners he had been competitive with earlier in the year. He ran for the first mile with a large pack of 20 runners, who trailed a smaller group of 5 leaders. As they went on a loop around the ponds, that pack began to string out and Lovik was at the tailend of the pack as they came out of the ponds.

He began an extended move at the two mile mark starting their last loop around the course. He gradually picked off runners one by one.

“I picked up the pace and just tried to stay smooth,” said Lovik. “In the end I was able to carry out my strategy because most of the guys in the top ten were guys I had gone back and forth with all season.”

When they reached the track, Lovik still had a kick left and challenged for 9th place before being outdueled in the final 30 meters.

“This was probably the best race I’ve run physically,” stated Lovik. “I had a good kick at the end and didn’t feel dead or even tired.”

His time was a state PR for him by more than 30 seconds and was almost a lifetime PR on a course that had runners finishing 30 seconds slower than usual. It was also the second fastest time in Sweet Home history, trailing only Brace McGillivary’s 16:27 in 1983. His 10th place finish was the seventh best in school history. Two runners, Joe Olsen in 1990 and Manuel Robledo in 1995 finished third.

By placing in the top 12, Lovik qualified for the Oregon-Washington Border Clash sponsored by Nike to be held in Beaverton on November 24th.

“There is no way I couldn’t be satisfied with this race,” said Lovik. “For my career, this was a really good way to end, but it’s a sobering feeling to think that next season I won’t be competing against the same people as I have been for the past four years.”

For Snow, who finished in the top half of the field at 56th with a time of 21:44, the race was both positive and negative. She expected to finish higher than she did, coming off a great effort at district.

“I thought I was ready to run and I felt pretty confident, even though part of me was kind of nervous,” said Snow. “I am disappointed with how I ran because I lost my concentration about halfway through the race and let a lot of people go past me.”

Snow got out well and went through the first mile in good shape. But when the pack started moving, she didn’t have a response. In the last mile, she regained some of the energy she had at the beginning of the race and improved her final placing. Her time was just over a minute slower than her time at district but still a PR on that course for her by over a minute.

“This year has shown me what I am capable of and I can’t be disappointed with my year,” said Snow. “A year ago I would have been absolutely thrilled to run the time I did at state, and now I think that’s slow.”

Snow’s time was indeed fast, the fifth fastest time in school history, trailing such runners as Jessie Schra and Adrienne Stuart on the 1993 team and Karly Schra and Andrea Dalton on the 1995 squad. She was also tied for the ninth best finish by a girl at state, tying Cora Adcock. Snow was just happy she had a chance to run at state.

“That used to be a way-out-there goal, but when I put all my effort into it, I made state a reality,” said Snow. “It was a great way to finish my cross country career.”