Cross Country

District meets show up on horizon

Cross country teams will pare down to state finalists soon
Oct. 12, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

With less than a fortnight before the first OSAA state finals, cross country teams across Oregon are beginning final preparations for the district/league/conference finals that will result in the line-ups for the championships, Oct. 31, in Eugene.

Most of the meets will take place Oct. 21, from Portland to Grants Pass.

The state is divided into four classifications for cross country.

Summit enters with the state's longest run of championships, with its girls team having won the past seven Class 5A finals. Union/Cove has a run of four consecutive Class 3A girls titles, the Summit boys have a run of four-straight 5A titles and Central Catholic has won the last three 6A boys titles.

Here are the district meet venues.

CLASS 6A

Wed., Oct. 21

PIL - Fernwood Park, Portland

METRO - Tualatin Hills Recreation Center, Beaverton

METRO - Centennial High, Gresham

THREE RIVERS - Clackamas Community College, Oregon City

GREATER VALLEY - Bush Park, Salem

SOUTHWEST - All Sports Park, Grants Pass

CLASS 5A

Wed., Oct 21

MID-WILLAMETTE - Crystal Lake Sports Park, Corvallis

MIDWESTERN - Jackson County Expo Center, Central Point

NORTHWEST OREGON - Meriwether National Golf Club, Hillsboro

Fri., Oct. 23

INTERMOUNTAIN - Drake Park, Bend

Sat. Oct. 24

COLUMBIA RIVER - Sorosis Park, The Dalles

CLASS 4A

Wed., Oct. 21

TRI-VALLEY - McIver State Park, Estacada

SKYLINE - Jackson County Expo Center, Central Point

SKY-EM - Lane Community College, Eugene

COWAPA - Camp Rilea, Seaside

Thurs., Oct. 22

FAR WEST - Tugman State Park, North Bend

Fri., Oct. 23

GREATER OREGON - Baker City Golf Course

Sat., Oct. 24

OREGON WEST - Willamette Mission State Park, Brooks

CLASSS 3A

Thurs., Oct. 22

DISTRICT 1 - Tualatin Hills Recreation Center, Beaverton

DISTRIST 2 - Bush Park, Salem

DISTRICT 3 - Bush Park, Salem

DISTRICT 4 - Lane Community College, Eugene

 

 

What a great day for Oregon

Fri, 11/08/2013 - 11:39am
Wanna Be Like Mike

This past weekend I had the chance to cover the Oregon School Activities Association Cross Country Championships, held at Lane Community College in Eugene.

It wasn't the first time I had attended the event; I was fortunate enough to run in the Class 4A race in both 2010 and '11, and it is definitely an experience I will never forget.

After seeing the meet through the eyes of a reporter, as opposed to those of an athlete, I realize just how amazing of an event it truly is.

While I was participating, I was focused on running at a peak level and helping my team. I was certainly never an elite runner and my team was never in contention for a state title, but I still always felt that the state championship meet had an importance about it that no other race had.

Saturday, when I was able to step back and watch all eight races with no rooting interest, I realized why.

The meet is one of the last examples we are given of experiencing running in its purest form.

Oregon is traditionally one of the top states in the nation for prep runners and Saturdays meet proved to be no exception.

Matthew Maton and Hannah Gindlesperger, both of Summit, were able to take shots at the course records during the 5A races, while the 6A women race featured two former state champions, and witnessed a new champion crowned when Elia Donaghu won in a time of 18:01.

Kyle Thompson of Central Catholic won his second 6A individual title in what was certainly the most exciting race of the day.Thompson battled Reilly Bloomer of South Eugene down to the 200 meter mark where he was finally able to pull away, winning in a time of 15:22.

These were some of the top high school runners in the nation competing in track and field's most historic city on a championship stage.

No sponsors.

No prize money.

Just a determination to win.

After crossing the finish line in the 6A girls race, South Eugene junior Sara Tsai triumphantly threw her arms in the air and anyone watching could not be blamed for thinking she had just won her second consecutive individual title.

She hadn't.

Tsai finished second 21 seconds behind Donaghu, but a second place finish for Tsai this season may just have felt as special as her state title last season.

After missing all of the 2013 track season with mononucleosis, Tsai spent the majority of this cross country season recovering from a stress fracture and didn't run in her first race until the George Fox Invitational on
Oct. 12. That she was even able to compete in the race, let alone perform so well in such a competitive field, is truly amazing.

Immediately after the race, Tsai was embraced and congratulated by Donaghu, as well as other top finishers.

“What she did is incredible. To get second with a stress fracture, I don’t know who else could do that,” Donaghu said. “She’s such an amazing competitor and I just wanna wish her the best.”

Tsai’s story is another chapter added to the illustrious history of distance running in Eugene

The way she was praised by her rivals and received by her hometown crowd is a first-class example of what makes the Cross Country Championship such a great event.

There will be plenty of compelling stories at next year's meet; Maton, the nation’s top prep runner, will return for his senior season with hopes of breaking Galen Rupp’s course record.

Central Catholic returns virtually its entire squad, with the exception of Thompson, and will be aiming for a third consecutive team championship. Summit's girls will be aiming for a seventh-straight title.

And of course, Donaghu will have to beat Tsai once again if she hopes to defend her title, which has been won by a sophomore three straight years.

The 2014 OSAA Cross Country Championship has potential to be one of the most compelling prep championships in recent memory.

Let’s hope that it's filled with the same drama, emotion and class demonstrated by the 2013 meet.

For real team excitement - it's cross country

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:19am
Cliff Pfenning
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It's right there in vivid color from a year ago, the final feet of the OSAA Cross Country state finals.

With St. Mary's and Grant expecting a tight race for the girls Class 6A team title, junior Paige Rice of St. Mary's bore down on Grant freshman Ella Donaghu on the track and Lane Community College - the clock keeping track of time clearly in sight.

Rice, the defending state champion, had not had an optimal performance and was headed for fourth or fifth as she ramped up to a full sprint.

Donaghu had run alongside senior teammate Parkes Kendrick until the final corner and was near collapse having spent her energy on the first 4,980 meters of the 5,000-meter course.
Rice caught her - nearly.

The timing chip attached to each runner's shoe clocked both runners in with the same time - 18 minutes, one second, but Donaghu finished fourth with Rice fifth. Another foot and the results would likely have been reversed. In the overall team standings that foot gave Grant the team championship, 66-68, over St. Mary's. Had the positions been reversed the teams would have tied, giving the Blues a share of the school's second state title.

Instead, Grant won its second title, having won the first girls title in 1974.

Even though Rice had an individual title to her name from her sophomore season, that closing burst has stuck with her through the past year.

"That's been there all year," she said after winning the Mount Hood Conference title for the third straight year last week. "This is my shot at redemption."

The drama at the finish of last year's race is one of the reasons the cross country finals the best team event on the OSAA schedule. Each runner competes in two or three races, depending on their school's district results. They race themselves and their personal best, they race the other individuals for placing in the overall standings, and they race runners from other teams, with each placing making a difference in the team standings.

Every year, the team title of at least one of the eight races is decided by that foot or two that separated Rice and Donaghu - often its between runners from the teams battling for first and second.

What puts the cross country finals ahead of other championships is that foot is often between runners well behind the individual champion - those boys or girls dueling for 18th or 33rd or 60th place.

The weight of scoring for each team's top five runners is equal, making those final feet as valuable for fourth as it is for all other spots, regardless of what school the other runner is from so long as its one involved in team scoring.

At Class 3A boys, Union beat East Linn Christian by one point - 93-94. In the final standings, East Linn Christian senior Kody Osborne finished eighth in 16:48. But he finished in a three-man rush in which two other runners were also timed in 18:46 - both ahead of him. Second in the rush was Rich Fettig of Westside Christian, which finished sixth in the team standings. Had Osborne edged Fettig his school would have celebrated its first team title. But, its a result each of the other four members of his team can reflect on - all of them finishing within three seconds of the runner ahead of them.

In the case of St. Mary's, its second finisher, senior Ellen Patterson, was timed in 18:37 - the exact time of West Salem freshman Brooke Chuhlantseff, but Patterson placed eighth in the team scoring instead of seventh. The Blues other three scoring runners all placed within two seconds of the runner ahead of them - each spot making that critical difference in team scoring.

Of course, it works both ways as some runners do catch the person in front of them and that's what makes the team scoring as close as it becomes. That's the drama of the cross country team finals - there's no scoreboard that lets a runner know how those final meters will impact the team scoring. In those final meters, the race is in each runner's head.

Rice's finish, though, ended up having the most drama of the 2012 championships as it was between runners in direct competition in overall scoring, which involves a two-point swing. It's what will drive runners Saturday as they look ahead at the starting line, then look to the right and left at others in the race. The final seconds before the opening gun, those are the ones where everyone on a seven-member team will wonder who will be ahead or behind them in the final meters and will they be able to catch or hold onto their spot on behalf of their school?

 

 

State preps for title runs

There's more to winning than just finishing first in cross country's team races
Nov. 1, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

It's right there in vivid color from a year ago, the final feet of the OSAA Cross Country state finals.

With St. Mary's and Grant expecting a tight race for the girls Class 6A team title, junior Paige Rice of St. Mary's bore down on Grant freshman Ella Donaghu on the track and Lane Community College - the clock keeping track of time clearly in sight.

Rice, the defending state champion, had not had an optimal performance and was headed for fourth or fifth as she ramped up to a full sprint.

Donaghu had run alongside senior teammate Parkes Kendrick until the final corner and was near collapse having spent her energy on the first 4,980 meters of the 5,000-meter course.
Rice caught her - nearly.

The timing chip attached to each runner's shoe clocked both runners in with the same time - 18 minutes, one second, but Donaghu finished fourth with Rice fifth. Another foot and the results would likely have been reversed. In the overall team standings that foot gave Grant the team championship, 66-68, over St. Mary's. Had the positions been reversed the teams would have tied, giving the Blues a share of the school's second state title.

Instead, Grant won its second title, having won the first girls title in 1974.

Even though Rice had an individual title to her name from her sophomore season, that closing burst has stuck with her through the past year.

"That's been there all year," she said after winning the Mount Hood Conference title for the third straight year last week. "This is my shot at redemption."

The drama at the finish of last year's race is one of the reasons the cross country finals the best team event on the OSAA schedule. Each runner competes in two or three races, depending on their school's district results. They race themselves and their personal best, they race the other individuals for placing in the overall standings, and they race runners from other teams, with each placing making a difference in the team standings.

Every year, the team title of at least one of the eight races is decided by that foot or two that separated Rice and Donaghu - often its between runners from the teams battling for first and second.

What puts the cross country finals ahead of other championships is that foot is often between runners well behind the individual champion - those boys or girls dueling for 18th or 33rd or 60th place.

The weight of scoring for each team's top five runners is equal, making those final feet as valuable for fourth as it is for all other spots, regardless of what school the other runner is from so long as its one involved in team scoring.

At Class 3A boys, Union beat East Linn Christian by one point - 93-94. In the final standings, East Linn Christian senior Kody Osborne finished eighth in 16:48. But he finished in a three-man rush in which two other runners were also timed in 18:46 - both ahead of him. Second in the rush was Rich Fettig of Westside Christian, which finished sixth in the team standings. Had Osborne edged Fettig his school would have celebrated its first team title. But, its a result each of the other four members of his team can reflect on - all of them finishing within three seconds of the runner ahead of them.

In the case of St. Mary's, its second finisher, senior Ellen Patterson, was timed in 18:37 - the exact time of West Salem freshman Brooke Chuhlantseff, but Patterson placed eighth in the team scoring instead of seventh. The Blues other three scoring runners all placed within two seconds of the runner ahead of them - each spot making that critical difference in team scoring.

Of course, it works both ways as some runners do catch the person in front of them and that's what makes the team scoring as close as it becomes. That's the drama of the cross country team finals - there's no scoreboard that lets a runner know how those final meters will impact the team scoring. In those final meters, the race is in each runner's head.

Rice's finish - Donaghu's too, though, ended up having the most drama of the 2012 championships as it was between runners in direct competition in overall scoring, which involves a two-point swing. It's what will drive runners Saturday as they look ahead at the starting line, then look to the right and left at others in the race. The final seconds before the opening gun, those are the ones where everyone on a seven-member team will wonder who will be ahead or behind them in the final meters and will they be able to catch or hold onto their spot on behalf of their school?

 

 

St. Mary's, Central Catholic reign again

The Blues and Rams dominate the Mount Hood Conference meet
Oct. 23, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

Seniors Kyle Thompson and Paige Rice both passed the first big test of their 2013 cross country seasons Wednesday by winning the Mount Hood Conference championship at Centennial High School.

Thompson won his third straight title to lead Central Catholic to the team championship, while Rice won her fourth straight title and led St. Mary's to the team title.

The next test is Nov. 2 at the Class 6A state meet, where both will be looking to return to the top of the podium, where they shared the spotlight as sophomores after winning state championships.

Thompson pumped up his season by setting a personal best in the 5,000 meters for the season, winning in 15 minutes, 17 seconds on the relatively flat course. His time eclipsed his time from last season by seven seconds.

Rice won in 18:19, a time that was nearly 33 seconds off her winning time from a year ago. But, she still won by more than 16 seconds.

In the team standings, Reynolds edged David Douglas for second by one point, which boiled down to 1.40 seconds when its fifth finishers, senior Grant Turner, edged the fifth finisher from David Douglas, senior Kylan Carlson, by that margin.

Gresham edged Reynolds by three points for second in the girls meet, which qualified the team for the state meet.

The top two teams from each of the six Class 6A districts advance to the state meet at Lane Community College.

 

 

Oregon women highlight big race weekend

Ducks win NCAA title, Southern Oregon takes second in NAIA
Nov. 18, 2012

Sparked by a third-place finish from senior Jordan Hasay, the Oregon women's cross country team won it's first NCAA title in 25 years Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky.

Hasay led an impressive pack of Ducks who were in the race's top 50 nearly the entire 6,000 meter distance.

Oregon ended up winning easily with 114 points, followed by Providence with 183, Stanford with 198 and Florida State with 202.

Hasay ran in the lead pack throughout finishing third only to Iowa State's Betsy Saina and second to Abbey D'Agostino of Dartmouth at the tape. After a sprint to the finish, Saina was the 2012 individual champion in 19:27.9, followed by D'Agostino and Hasay both in 19:28.6.

Alexii Pappas, a transfer from Dartmouth, ran just a step off the lead pack the entire race, and finished eighth in 19:43.9.

Katie Conlon was the surprise of the day for the Ducks. The transfer from NAIA Jamestown College in North Dakota had been the Ducks' fifth or sixth runner during the regular season, but put on a strong kick over the final third of the race, passing a couple dozen runners to place 39th in 20:15.0.

Then it was freshman Allie Woodward coming to the line as Oregon's fourth runner. The Green Bay, Wis., native was 44th overall in 20:19.5. Freshman Annie Leblanc capped the scoring for the Ducks, finishing 68th in 20:31.5

Oregon also had senior Sarah Penney 105th in 20:50.7 and freshman Abbey Leonardi 162nd in 21:12.2.

 

SOU TAKES SECOND

Southern Oregon, which won the NAIA title two years ago, finished second in the championship meet held at Fort Vancouver in Washington.

Tyler VanDyke led the Raiders with a 19th-place finish at 25:06 on the 10,000-meter course and the team all followed within 41 seconds, but that wasn't enough to overcome St. Francis in the team race.

Kailee Coffey of Eastern Oregon finished third in the women's final.

 

State runners get ready for Cross Country Party

Eight races hit Lane Community College Saturday
Nov. 2, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

The annual gathering of runners from high schools across Oregon is the start to the OSAA state championship season, and Central Catholic is poised to become the dominant program, at least in Fall.

Not only to the Rams have the defending Class 6A individual champion in junior Kyle Thompson, but the team is among the favorites to win in the final event of a day that begins with the Class 3A girls final at 10 a.m.

Thompson is one of five returning champions who'll battle the 5,000-meter course at Lane Community College. St. Mary's junior Paige Rice won the Class 6A girls title, Summit senior Travis Neuman won at Class 5A boys, Klamath Union senior Alisha Luna won at 4A girls, and Creswell sophomore Olivia Powell won at Class 3A girls.

Outside of the Class 4A race, which Siuslaw is an overwhelming favorite to win, most of the team races figure to be highly competitive as they were last year when Scappoose edged Klamath Union by just one point.

Rice won the most competitive individual title, edging South Eugene's Sara Tsai by one second.

Here are scouting reports on the eight finals:

CLASS 3A GIRLS

CLASS 3A BOYS

CLASS 4A GIRLS

CLASS 4A BOYS

CLASS 5A GIRLS

CLASS 5A BOYS

CLASS 6A GIRLS

CLASS 6A BOYS

 

Statistical information provided by www.athletic.net

 

 

Rankings freeze heats up playoff berths

Football, Volleyball and Soccer begin settling into playoff brackets this week
Oct. 24, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

With October drawing to a close, the high school state playoffs begin to take shape with the rankings developed by the OSAA turning from a constantly moving list to one that's frozen so that playoff qualifiers can be established.

The Class 4A rankings was the first to be frozen following matches on Tuesday night. Rankings for Class 6A and 5A volleyball will be frozen by Saturday night, while those for boys and girls soccer go through Oct. 31 at the latest.

Football rankings will be frozen following games Friday and Saturday.

Rankings for volleyball and football are frozen by Saturday night at the latest, whild boys and girls soccer go through Oct. 31 when Class 5A shuts down.

Once rankings are frozen, playoff brackets begin to form with a play-in round for Class 6A, 5A and 4A schools. Class 3A, 2A and 1A have the number of district representatives established prior to the season and have them placed into a 16-team bracket without a play-in round.

The play-in round for Class 6A involves 22 automatic qualifiers with 10 play-in games to produce a 32-team bracket. The Class 5A and 4A models involve eight automatic qualifiers and eight more that survive the play-in round.

Cross Country teams will have their district meets resolved by Saturday at the latest leading into the state meet at Lane Community College, Nov. 3.

Here's the playoff outline for team sports:

VOLLEYBALL

Play-in round matches are set for Oct. 30, while the bracket begins Nov. 3.

SOCCER

Play-in round games are schedule for Nov. 1, while the bracket begins Nov. 6.

FOOTBALL

Play-in round games are scheduled for Nov. 2, with the bracket beginning on Nov. 9.

 

 

State championship runs begin this week

District cross country meets open the OSAA playoff schedule
Oct. 22, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

A slew of district cross country meets wlll begin the drama of the OSAA championships event this week across Oregon.

Teams at four classifications will be whittled to two each in every district along with individual qualifiers along 5,000-meter courses.

Wednesday is the biggest day for the state when 11 district meets are scheduled to take place, including four of the Class 6A meets: the Mt. Hood Conference at Centennial High, Metro League at Tualatin Hills Parks and Rec., Central Valley at Salem's Push Park, and Three Rivers League at Clackamas Community College.

District meets will continue through Saturday.

Here is the schedule of district meets by classification.

 

CLASS 6A

Central Valley - Wednesday at Salem, Bush Park

Metro League - Wednesday at Tualatin Hills Rec. Center

Mt. Hood Conference -Wednesday at Centennial High

Pacific Conferenece - Thursday at Clackamas Comm. College

Southwest - Thursday at Central Point, TouVelle State Park

Three Rivers League - Wednesday at Clackamas Comm. College

 

CLASS 5A

PIL - Wednesday at Lents Park

Northwest Oregon - Wednesday at Gresham, Blue Lake Park

Midwestern - Wednesday at Eugene, Alton Baker Park

Mid-Willamette -Wednesday at Woodburn, Mission Bottom Park

Columbia River - Saturday at Hood River High

Intermountain - Friday at Bend High

 

CLASS 4A

Tri-Valley - Wednesday at Estacada, McIver State Park

Cowapa - Thursday at Warrenton, Camp Rilea

Sky-Em - Thursday at Lane Comm. College

Oregon West - Saturday at Cascade High

Far West - Thursday at North Bend, Tugman State Park

Skyline - Wednesday at Henley High

Greater Oregon - Saturday at LaGrande High

 

CLASS 1A

District 1 -Thursday at Beaverton, Tualatin Hills Rec. Center

District 2 - Thursday at Salem, Bush Park

District 3 - Thursday at Salem, Bush Park

District 4 - Saturday at Crow, Polyrock Ranch

District 5 - Friday at Pendleton, McKay Park

District 6 - Thursday at Rogue River, Valley of the Rogue Park

District 7 - Wednesday at Tualatin High

Strong performances highlight Nike Cross Nationals

Large crowd watches meet record run
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

A meet record and another near-record performance highlighted the Nike Cross National Championships Saturday at Portland Meadows.

Futsum Zeinasellaissie won the boys race in 15 minutes, 3 seconds to establish a record for the meet, which began in 2004.

Zeinasellaissie, a senior and three-time state champion from Indianapolis, Ind., broke from the lead pack halfway through the 5,000-meter race and won by 24 seconds.

Sarah Baxter of Simi Valley, Calif., won the girls race by four seconds in 17:38, missing the course record by just nine seconds.

Megan Fristoe of Summit High placed 83rd overall in the girls race to lead finishers from the Central Oregon XC club to a 17th-place finish among the 22 teams that qualified. Teammate Piper McDonald finished 85th for the Northwest Region champions.


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