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Sayers fourth as Huskies exit gym for their first XC meet


September 12, 2017

Photos by Scott Swanson COACH KAMBRIA SCHUMACHER, left, urges on freshman Jessy Hart, who finished sixth in the girls varsity race.

After a week of inside workouts due to the smoky air quality, Sweet Home’s cross-country teams kicked off their seasons at the 14-team Darrel Deedon Cascade Invitational Thursday, Sept. 7, at Cascade.

The Husky boys placed fourth with 133 points, behind Stayton (24), East Linn Christian (53) and Elmira (66).

“I thought it was a good opener for most of the kids,” said first-year Coach Kambria Schumacher, who was handed the reins of the program literally days before the start of the season, after last year’s coach Dan Bixler resigned suddenly to take another job.

“The ones who didn’t have as good a performance as they wanted hadn’t trained much.”

She said her team spent most of the week prior to the race indoors, due to the air quality.

“Since we had all that smoke, during the week of the race Steelhead (Strength and Fitness) was kind enough to let us use their facilities,” Schumacher said.

Junior Tanner Sayers led the boys with a fourth-place finish in a field of 69 runners, in 17:12 on a flat, mostly fast 5K course, behind overall winner Jedaiah Wasson of East Linn (15:24). Sayers was sandwiched between two Stayton runners on both sides of him.

Although personal bests are relative in cross-country because of the difference in courses, Sayers’ time was 36 seconds faster than he’d ever run a 5K course before.

“Tanner had a really good opener because his time was basically his PR,” Schumacher said. “He’s pretty excited for the season. He should be able to hit his goals.”

The varsity girls didn’t have the necessary five runners to score as a team, but freshman Jessy Hart finished sixth in a field of 41 (24:24) in her first high school cross-country race.

Also running cross-country for the first time was sophomore Zoe James, who finished 11th in 25:36 over 5,000 meters. Sweet Home lacked the five girls necessary to field a full varsity team Thursday.

“The girls, both of them did really well,” Schumacher said. “They started a little back and then worked their way up.”

Finishing behind Sayers for the boys varsity were senior Ricky Yunke, 23rd in 19:50; senior Cameron Taber, 33rd in 20:41; junior Noah Dinsfriend, 36th in 20:52; sophomore Zach Zanona, 37th in 20:53; sophomore Tristan Saultz, 43rd in 21:22; and senior Noah Taraski, 46th in 21:40.

Zanona, in particular, raced well, Schumacher said.

“Zack had a really good strategy,” she said. “He started slower, then increased his pace to work his way up to fifth.”

TANNER SAYERS leads a pack of runners in the boys race, en route to a big PR.

Freshman Gavin Walberg was ninth out of 68 runners in the 3,000-meter JV race, in 12:10, followed by sophomore Connor Ford, 17th in 12:59; senior Jake Hindmarsh, 21st in 13:08; sophomore Corban Wright, 22nd in 13:11; sophomore Bryce Porter, 24th in 13:23; junior Robert Watkins, 30th in 13:45; senior Justin Kurtz, 32nd in 13:51; freshman Tristan Caulkins, 35th in 13:56; freshman Jaren Adams, 38th in 14:33; and freshman Trace Marler, 50th in 15:40.

In the girls JV race, sophomore Katen Edwards finished 21st out of 30 runners in her first cross-country race, running 17:49.

Conditions permitting, Sweet Home races again Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the Silver Falls Oktoberfest Invitational.


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