kyle thompson

What a great day for Oregon

Fri, 11/08/2013 - 10:39am
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.

Golden finishes highlight state meet

Thompson leads Central Catholic to repeat win; Summit dominates again
Nov. 2, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

EUGENE - Anyone who expected close finish at the OSAA Cross Country State Meet Saturday got one in the final race of the day - when Kyle Thompson of Central Catholic and Reilly Bloomer of South Eugene hit the track at Lane Community College within meters of one another.

Bloomer put on a burst in an attempt to catch Thompson as the crowd cheered for just such a move. But, Thompson reacted with his own surge and cast Bloomer's late rally aside to win the race in 15 minutes, 22 seconds and return to the role of state champion he took on as a sophomore before finishing third last year.

"It feels really good to be state champion again," Thompson said. "That was a great race to win, the kind I like. It's fun when the crowd gets all into the race."

Saturday's races were marked by strong performances from state champion runners, who largely ran away from their fields by midrace.


CLASS 6A -Thompson's five-second win over Bloomer helped the Rams score just 33 points - the low team total of the day - for their seventh win in 11 years.

CLASS 5A -Junior Matthew Maton of Summit turned in the best performance of the day on the boys side by finishing in 14:59, which beat the field by 51 seconds. The Storm won the team title as well for the third straight year.

CLASS 4A - Senior Mitchell Butler of Siuslaw moved up from second in the 2012 race to the individual title, crossing the finish line in 15:37 and edging teammate Mack Marbas by four seconds. The top two finish didn't stop LaSalle of Milwaukie, though, from winning the school's first team title.

CLASS 3A - Senior David Ribich became only the third runner from Enterprise to win a state title with a 13-second win over Creswell senior Zach Bellew, clearing the course in 15:58. Valley Catholic won the team title for the second time in three years led by senior Cooper Roach and junior Wilder Boyden, who both finished in 16:39.


CLASS 6A - Sophomore Ella Donaghu of Grant, whose fourth-place run last year was a key to her school winning the team title, bested last year's champion, junior Sara Tsai of South Eugene, by 24 seconds, winning in 18:01. Sunset, led by senior Charlotte Corless, won the team title for the first time in three decades.

CLASS 5A - Summit sophomore Hannah Gindlesperger put on one of the top performances of the day by finishing in 17:53, which won her race by 44 seconds over freshman teammate Olivia Brooks. The Storm easily won the team title for the sixth straight year.

CLASS 4A - Senior Shaylen Crook used her school's drop from Class 5A to 4A and inspiration from just clearing the 19-minute mark to become Marhfield's first girls individual champion. Crook, the lone runner from Marshfield in the race, finished in 18:28 and won by 31 seconds over Molalla senior Emily Bever. Bever scored a win, though, in the team race, which the Indians won for the first time.

CLASS 3A - Union won the team race for the third straight year led by seniors McKenzie Powell and Katriel O'Reilly, who switched spots atop the individual standings from last year when O'Reilly won by 17 seconds. This year Powell won by 21 seconds.


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.



MHC district meet runs to form

State champions Thompson and Rice win easily to qualify for state
Oct. 24, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning,

The defending state champions at Class 6A ran as they were expected and won the individual titles at the Mt. Hood Conference district cross country meet Wednesday at Centennial High School.

Kyle Thompson, a junior at Central Catholic, won the boys race by 25 seconds over Barlow senior Jackson Haselnus, while Paige Rice, a junior at St. Mary's Academy, won the girls race by nearly 17 seconds over senior teammate Ellen Patterson.

Rice, who won last year's state title by one second, set a personal record for a 5,000-meter course, finishing in 17 minutes, 46 seconds. St. Mary's easily won the girls meet with all seven of its team members placing in the top 10.

Central Catholic won the boys meet by placing its five scoring runners in the top 8.

Barlow finished second in the boys meet and Gresham finished second in the girls meet to each qualify for the state championships, scheduled for Nov. 3, at Lane Community College.




1. Central Catholic 26, Barlow 53, Reynolds 62, Centennial 94, David Douglas 134, Gresham, inc.


1. St. Mary's Academy 21, Gresham 77, Barlow 100, Reynolds 104, Central Catholic 106, David Douglas 111, Centennial 214.





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