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Cross-country heading to district championships


October 25, 2017

Sweet Home’s cross-country team ran through its final tune-up for this week’s district championships when the Huskies competed Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Country Fair Classic in Elmira.

The race was held at Richardson Park on the shore of Fern Ridge Reservoir because the traditional venue at the Country Fairgrounds was unavailable.

Sweet Home’s boys were finished 17th out of 27 teams in the varsity race, behind Cottage Grove (ninth), Junction City (12th) and Elmira (13th).

Tanner Sayers was seventh of 237 runners, in 16:44.1, and second among 4A runners, behind winner Robby Vos of Phoenix (16:06.4).

“Tanner ran well; he was competitive,” said former Coach Billy Snow, who accompanied the team because Coach Kambria Schumacher, who took over the program literally days before the season began, had a conflict.

The remainder of the Huskies were scattered throughout the field.

Noah Dinsfriend shook off some pre-race soreness to finish 69th in a season’s-best 18:37.3.

Tristan Saultz was 123rd in 19:37.4, Noah Taraski 141st in 19:58.6, Cameron Taber 151st in 20:07.9, Gavin Walberg 163rd in a PR of 20:14.5, Connor Ford 183rd in a PR of 20:43.5 and Tristan Calkins fought off a knee problem to finish 188th in 20:50.9.

Country Fair organizers allowed 10 varsity runners instead of the normal seven, the top five of whom score, which gave the latter three a chance to run in that race.

“Those kids did very well for themselves,” Snow said of the three who moved up. “They responded well.”

The only Sweet Home girl who competed Wednesday was Zoe James, who ran 23:54.2 in the girls race.

In the junior varsity race, Jake Hindmarsh ran 22:32.8, Corban Wright finished in 23:02.9, Jaren Adams clocked a PR of 23:06.5 and Trace Marler finished in 24:15.0.

The Sky-Em championships will begin with the varsity girls race at noon Saturday at Lane Community College. The varsity boys will follow at 12:30 p.m., and the JV boys and girls will run together at 1 p.m.

Going into districts, Sweet Home will not have the five girls necessary to field a team this year. They have four who have run enough races to qualify for districts.

For the boys, going by times the Huskies have run this year, the boys will be seeded in the middle of the pack.

The exception is Sayers, a junior who spent the summer training and has seen it pay off in times that are two minutes faster than he ran on similar courses last year.

Going into the district championships, Sayers’ best time for a 5000-meter (3.1-mile) course is 16:19.6, run at the Nike Portland XC meet on Sept. 30, where Sisters’ Jordan Pollard, the only Sky-Em runner to post a faster time, ran 16:10.3. Pollard, though, ran 16:21 on Oct. 14, on the same course – though not the same race – on which Sayers ran 16:22.

For the girls, James has run the fastest 5000 time of the year, 22:18.1 at George Fox on Oct. 14, which was a 1:30 PR for her, eighth-fastest in the league this year. However, freshman Jessy Hart could finish in the top 10 and fellow freshman Summer Hicks, who has run the varsity distance once, is ranked 16th out of 60 runners who’ve competed at 5,000 meters for Sky-Em schools this year.

Snow said the Huskies will need a significant effort to move up in the standings.

“Almost all those guys have had a good race,” he said. “They all need to have a great race on the same day. It’s going to take a small miracle to catch Cottage Grove or Sisters, because they have so much depth.

“Our fourth, fifth, sixth, seven guys need to run about a minute faster and stay together. They need to fight through the pain.”


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