Lovik, Snow lead cross country runners

Sweet Home’s cross country team opened up their season with a day at the beach, Agate Beach in this particular case, for the Newport Invitational Meet.

With the inexperience of both the girls and the boys squads, only three athletes ran in the varsity level 5K races. John Lovik finished fifth out of 52 runners, gaining four spots over the last half of the race. Aaron Lovik finished near the middle of the pack, also moving up five places to finish 32nd. Likewise in the girls race, Megan Snow finished strong to take 17th place out of 44 runners.

With incomplete teams, Sweet Home did not figure in the meet championships, which were dominated by Crescent Valley and Philomath, who finished first and second in both the boys and the girls events.

The runners escaped the heat in Sweet Home to face cloudy, cool weather combined with a strong south wind, which definitely came into play on this sandy, waterfront course. The first 1000 meters was into the wind, followed by 2500 meters with the wind, and then back into the wind for the final 1500 meters.

“The kids ran great, despite a hard week of workouts,” said Coach Billy Snow. “All were probably a minute faster than I expected.”

Snow’s comments covered the efforts of the JV runners as well. Kyle Aubert, who Snow expects will be the next runner to move up to the varsity level, raced mostly in a pack with Tyler Kistner and Ryan Sipe. Aubert finished 11th in the 3000 meter JV race of 49 runners, while Kistner finished 13th and Sipe followed in 17th place. Sam Crain also ran a steady race at the meet.

Freshman Katie Barr led the way for the JV girls with a 12th place finish. Jessica Trautwein and Stephanie Kragness cut nearly two minutes off their previous 3K races in a practice run last week.

“Given the wind and loose surface plus the fact they ran tired from workouts, they can probably all run significantly faster,” said Snow.

Snow hopes to move more of the runners up to the varsity as they become able to handle the 5K distance. His goal is to have complete teams by the time of the Elmira meet on September 25 because it is relatively a flat course. Their next meet is Thursday at Cascade.