Its a happy bus ride home
The expected duel for the Class 4A boys cross country title was a one-sided affair Saturday at the OSAA state championships in Eugene.
Central Catholic senior Galen Rupp ran away with the individual title and the Rams easily won the team race over rival and defending champion Jesuit, scoring 46 points to the Crusaders' 95.
Rupp, the defending champion, finished the 5,000-meter course in 14 minutes, 55 seconds, improving on his stellar performance from last year by one second. Since 1979, Rupp is the only winner to be timed in under 15 minutes.
But it was the performance of junior Stephen Oliver, who finished fifth, senior Scott Wall, who was sixth, sophomore Kenny Klotz, who was 17th, and freshman Luke Wiltshire, who was 33rd in 16:19, that won the team title for the Rams, whose previous best was second in 1977 and '78.
'This has been the goal all season,' Rupp says. 'To win as a team. That way everyone on the bus going back home has something to show off.'
Jesuit's runners, led by junior Michael Maag in 10th, actually performed well Ñ their point total would have won the team title the last two years. But their top five runners were separated by 50 seconds. Their season best was 30 seconds apart, something they needed to duplicate to have a chance at beating the Rams on Saturday.
Centennial senior Ryan Vail finished second overall in 15:13.
Benson junior Zuber Ahmed nearly finished third, getting edged out by Beaverton senior Stuart Eagon at the finish line in 15:22, a time that would have won the individual race nine times out of the last 10 years.
In the girls race, Jesuit easily ran to the team title for the second straight year and fifth time in eight years. Sophomores Katie Sullivan and Kellen McKnight-Slottee finished 25th and 26th, respectively, but the Crusaders' top five runners were separated by just 24 seconds and they edged second-place St. Mary's 96-162.
Patricia Loughlin, one of the team's top runners during the regular season, finished 54th and was the sixth of seven Jesuit finishers, so her score wasn't needed.
'That just shows how deep we are,' Loughlin says. 'We have a lot of girls who would be running on any other varsity team but can't get into our lineup.'
St. Mary's also got to celebrate its second-place finish. The Blues, led by sophomore Anne Murphy-Hagan's 18th-place finish, edged third-place Hermiston by just two points and moved up from a third-place finish last year.
Grant junior Natalie Todd-Zebell was the top PIL finisher in 12th place, two spots ahead of Lincoln sophomore Harmony Teitsworth. Central Catholic senior Annaliese Chapa finished 10th.
Jesuit, ranked 10th in the state, had a stirring run to the Class 4A state tournament final Saturday before losing to top-ranked West Linn in two games. The Crusaders finished second for the second time in five years.
Jesuit won its four-team pool on Friday and shocked second-ranked Gresham in the semifinals Saturday afternoon. Middle blocker Bronwyn Evans says that's the kind of win that should set the team up for more success next year because she's the only senior on the team.
'Gresham, West Linn, Central Catholic, they all have great volleyball tradition at their school,' Evans says. 'Not only did we beat Gresham, but we beat Central Catholic, too. I'm really proud of our accomplishment, especially because no one expected much from us.'
Junior Addie Webster was voted to the all-tournament first team.
Central Catholic and Grant are set to meet today in the second round of the playoffs after both teams won games Thursday night at Delta Park. Central beat Crescent Valley 2-0, while Grant edged Southridge 1-0 in overtime.
Grant's win set off a huge celebration among its players because the lone goal by junior Lauren Miller came with just 11 seconds left in overtime, 11 seconds before a penalty-kick shootout would have started against the team the Generals lost to in the first round of the playoffs last year.
'I knew we had to score at the end,' says Miller, who scored off a rebound from a point-blank shot that Southridge goalie Kim Connelly couldn't hold onto. 'I knew we couldn't go to a shootout with them. We had to win, especially after losing to them last year and with all we've been through this season.
'When I shot the first time, I thought it might go in but I've been taught to follow up every shot and that helped me score on the second shot.'
Grant has played under significantly high expectations all season because four of its seniors were on a national champion club team this summer.
Central broke free of a 0-0 tie when Valerie Feltz, a 5-1 senior, loosened up her injured right knee and entered in the second half. Michelle Massar and Katherine Harris scored goals for the Rams, who immediately set their sights on today's game with Grant.
'We're really looking forward to playing Grant because they're our neighbors,' Feltz says. 'We know them really well from club teams and from being so close to their schools.
'The game is going to be really fun. I know we're going to be ready for them. Catholic girls are going to represent.'
In other second-round games, Jesuit plays at Tigard, Centennial is host to South Eugene and Lincoln is host to Oregon City.
In the boys tournament, Lincoln plays at Redmond, Centennial plays at McMinnville, Central Catholic is home against Woodburn and Jesuit is host to South Salem.