Sweet Home cross-country ends with big PR, but without state qualifiers

Nate Coleman ran the second-fastest 5K ever to finish off his high school career at the Oregon West district cross-country championships, held Thursday, Oct. 28, at Lane Community College.

Coleman, a senior, ran 18:24 to finish 13th in the 42-runner field. He needed to be in the top five to earn a trip to the state championships, which will be held this Saturday, also at LCC.

“Nate did good,” said Coach Nichole Wingo, who took over the team for the final two weeks. “We were kind of hoping for top 10, but he ended up doing a lot better (than previous races this season), especially considering that was not exactly a fast course. The district course is not an easy one to PR on, by any means.”

Sweet Home only had three boys run, its smallest representation in recent memory. Teams must have five finishers to score, so Sweet Home did not figure in the team race.

Aiden Shamek finished in 22:05, and Kyle Watkins in 24:54.

Philomath won the team title, as Warrior runners finished 1-3, with Mateo Candanoza taking the district title in 16:59.40, followed by Brody Busnell (17:25) and Ben Hernandez (17:29), all juniors.

Philomath scored 37 points, followed by Sisters (52), which also qualified for state as a team, Stayton (63), Newport (90) and Cascade (91).

On the girls side, sophomore Lydia Wright was 19th for the Huskies, running 23:37. Senior Paige Chafin, who joined the team late in the season, was 32nd in 26:41, in what was the third race of her high school career.

Senior Aliya Larsen of Newport won the girls title in 20:20, ahead of sophomore Ella Bartlett of Sisters (20:23) and junior Ingrid Hellesto of Philomath (20:40).

Philomath won the district team title with 39 points, ahead of Sisters (58), Stayton (63), Newport (90) and Cascade (91).

“They did good,” Wingo said. “We set some goals. We went in there with kind of realistic expectations. They knew what to expect.”

She noted that the season has been “interesting,” particularly for herself as she jumped in to guide the team late. The Huskies suffered from a lack of participants, sickness and then experienced the coaching change.

“All things considered, given the hurdles they went through, they did pretty well,” Wingo said.

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