Missing runners take toll on cross-country teams

A depleted boys varsity team placed third behind Crescent Valley and Philomath Friday on the tough Philomath Forest Run course in the Beazell Memorial Forest in Kings Valley.

Missing their number two runner, Rob Callagan, and another normal top-five scorer, Casey Keys, and with Dakotah Keys stepping out of the race midway due to an injury, the Huskies finished with 55 points, behind Crescent Valley’s 39 and Philomath’s 44.

“We had a lot of walking wounded and, with districts coming up, we didn’t risk anything,” said Coach Billy Snow. “Anyone who had ankle injuries, we didn’t run them. We had eight kids who didn’t run for various reasons.”

Byron Sanders was the leading runner for the Huskies, taking third in 18:48.21 behind Benjamin Condrea of Crescent Valley (18:12.65) and Philomath sophomore Josh Seekatz (18:40.87). The Warriors stacked their five scoring runners all in the top 12 places.

Sweet Home’s scorers were Jayce Calhoon in sixth (19:30.32), freshman Nick Hall in 11th (20:11.07), Chris Thompson in 17th (21:55.31) and Michael Simmonds in 18th 22:01.26).

“Byron had a great race and Jayce looked good and felt good,” Snow said. “Nick Hall looked good in his first race on varsity.

“If you take our kids who didn’t run and put them in their normal positions, at least on the guys side, we match up pretty well with Philomath.”.

The Sweet Home girls were also depleted, missing two of their varsity runners in Carissa Swanson, who has been second for the Huskies throughout the season, and Sarah Hawkins, both of whom had to sit out with injuries.

Olivia Johnson continued to lead Sweet Home, taking fourth overall behind three Crescent Valley runners, in 22:52.14. Philomath, which only put three runners in the varsity race, got seventh place from freshman Olivia Anderson-Gregg, who ran 24:56.46.

Jill Mahler was Sweet Home’s second finisher, in 11th overall (26:30.50), behind Philomath freshman Emma Ervin (10th, 26:11.63.)

Crescent Valley scored 17 points, Johnson ruining their chances for a perfect score, with Sweet Home second with 55 and Monroe third with 90 points, as Philomath did not have enough runners for a team score.

“Olivia had a great race,” Snow said of Johnson. “I told her to run right with the Crescent Valley girls and that’s exactly where she was at. She was a minute and a half faster than last year and I thought the course was harder than it was last year.”

The Huskies packed it in behind Mahler, Caroline Amendola finishing 12th in 27:11.05 and Jenna Kistner right behind her in 13th (27:41.50), followed by Natasha Perry in 15th (28:13.85).

In the boys junior varsity race, Philomath edged the Huskies 33-37 as the Warriors staked all five of their scorers in the top 10 places.

Jake Comstock was Sweet Home’s top finisher, taking in 21:01.09, behind Philomath freshman Boone McCoy-Crisp (20:49.69) and ahead of teammate Nikki Smith, who finished 466th (out of 7,851 runners, in 3:23.03) in the Portland Marathon on Sunday. Smith ran 21:29.95 to finish third in the JV race. Other Sweet Home finishers were Avery Shamek (sixth, 21:48.44), James Myers (12th, 22:41.39), Lorenzo Virgen (14th, 22:43.28), Alex Whitlow (25th, 26:36.46), Josh Lowe (28th, 29:00.95) and Anson Davis (29th, 29:15.32).

Sweet Home will be back in action Wednesday, Oct. 15, at Elmira, a large invitational meet on a flat, fast course that is expected to include all of the Val-Co teams. It will be the Huskies’ last race before districts and Snow expects to get a better read on where his team is, compared to the rest of the league.