Lovik 26th at state with 17:23

Sophomore John Lovik ran 17:23 at the state cross country meet Saturday afternoon to finish 26th.

Lovik was the only Husky runner to qualify for state.

Among his Capital Conference rivals, Lovik finished behind only Molalla’s senior David Paulisoul, 14th, 16:57, and junior Ben Howard, 21st, 17:19. He finished ahead of Howard at the district meet.

Phoenix and Wilsonville dominated the front end of the race, claiming the top five spots. Bend won the 3A boys championship.

“John ran tough,” Coach Wayne Spinney said.

“I got good position in the beginning,” Lovik said. “I tried to stay in contact with my conference. The whole conference ran really well. I just tried to stay with them.”

Throughout the race, Lovik maintained a position in the 20s.

“The course is tougher,” Lovik said. “It’s harder to PR here. I ran what I had in me today.”

Lovik said he had some trouble with his lungs.

Next year, “hopefully, the whole team will come down here,” Lovik said.

“He did exactly what he needed to do to be in position,” Coach Spinney said. He went out hard and was around the people he needed to be around.

At the mile mark, there was no clock, so the runners had no idea where they were at as far as times, Coach Spinney said, but “he was exactly where he needed to be.”

He had people around him that he had raced all year long, Coach Spinney said. “John’s got the heart of a champion. He’s running with upperclassmen; but to beat the best, you’ve got to run with the best.

Coach Spinney said Lovik was apologizing for his finish, but there’s no need. Lovik qualified for the state meet.

“I’m so proud of that dude for getting here in the first place,” Coach Spinney said. “We’re following him around. There’s no need to apologize.”

He was just happy that Sweet Home was at the state meet, and the team got a look at the course.

“We kind of like yellow and green,” Coach Spinney said. “It’s easy to spot among all the blue uniforms out there.”

Next year, Coach Spinney hopes Lovik isn’t alone.

“Hopefully, we’re not coming back as individuals,” Coach Spinney said. “Hopefully, we’re coming back as a team.”