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Jesuit finds that early playoff exit stings

Losing a football game is never fun, but getting beat by Clackamas on a last-second field goal stung Jesuit particularly hard.

Kyle McWhirter's 42-yard field goal, from the right hash mark and with frost on the field, decimated the Crusaders (9-3), who were looking for their seventh-straight win since losing to Beaverton earlier this year.

'You never prepare for your next game as if it's your last,' says coach Ken Potter, who led the Crusaders to the state title in 2000. 'But you especially don't figure you're going to get beat on a 40-yard field goal at the end.

'There were a lot of plays that could have made the difference for us, but they just didn't happen. It's really tough because we overcame so much adversity this season.'

Clackamas, 9-3, stopped Jesuit's two-point conversion attempt after the Crusaders' touchdown with 1:30 left. The Cavaliers stayed in position to win by stopping a Jesuit drive at the 2-yard line, then driving 40 yards to set up McWhirter's kick.

Potter used Mike Jones, a senior headed for Oregon State who has struggled with injuries this season, as the featured back on several possessions. But Potter also went to junior Heath Faulk on other drives, apparently to motivate Jones to run harder.

Trailing 13-7 at halftime, Jesuit put together a 77-yard TD drive on 17 plays, 13 of them runs by Faulk. Jones, who ran eight times for 35 yards in the first half, ran 12 times for 92 yards thereafter.

'Coach thinks he's upsetting me when he does that,' Jones says. 'But the opponent is all I need to get motivated.'

Cross country

Galen Rupp and 'the Ruppettes' proved victorious in the fifth annual Borderclash Sunday on the Nike campus in Beaverton. Now it's on to San Diego for the Foot Locker cross country national championships, Dec. 13.

Rupp ran from the lead pack in the final 300 meters to tie the 4,400-meter course record of 14 minutes, 47 seconds. Then he ran off to continue training, which caused him to miss the awards ceremony.

No matter. The Central Catholic senior, who won the state high school championship for the second year in a row earlier this month, is focused on winning the prestigious meet in three weeks.

'There's a lot of things that are coming at me, but I'm not worrying about any of them until after the cross country season is over, until after the Foot Locker nationals,' Rupp says.

Rupp's Borderclash victory was never in doubt Ñ thanks perhaps to two Central students who were on hand to pull for their friend and were wearing shirts that said, 'the Ruppettes.' The two, along with a third Central student, started the fan group in May, when Rupp took third in the Oregon Twilight 3,000 meters against collegiate competition.

'Our shirts make him run (personal record) times,' says Emma Jensen, a junior at Central who is Ruppette No. 1. 'We are his success.'

Nora Timoney and Molly McCormick, also juniors, are Ruppettes No. 2 and 3, respectively.

Rupp says he was disappointed he didn't hear the calls to attend the awards ceremony from a neighboring track. But he's training intensely to qualify for the national meet at the West Regional in Los Angeles on Dec. 6.

Rupp, who finished 32nd at the national meet last year, says he has put off certain decisions Ñ from what college he will attend, or even if he will run in a college program Ñ until after the national meet. If he skips college, he would simply train as a professional runner under his current coach, Alberto Salazar.

'I may skip college,' said Rupp, who has only looked at the programs at Michigan and Oregon. 'But I would still be going to college to get an education. I just wouldn't be running for a college.'

Washington won both the boys and girls team races, which were based on the scores of the top 10 placers.

Stuart Eagon of Beaverton, Ryan Vail of Centennial and Zuber Ahmed of Benson were fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, in the boys race. Vail recently signed a letter of intent with Oklahoma State. Ahmed, the lone junior among the top Oregon finishers, plans to begin training more seriously this week.

'I'm going to go from 35 miles a week to 65,' he says. 'I want to be able to win races like this.'

Katie Leary, the senior from Klamath Falls who won the state title Nov. 1, captured the Borderclash girls crown. Meghan Armstrong of Tualatin placed third. Annaliese Chapa of Central Catholic was 13th.

Notes

McWhirter, the Clackamas kicker, is headed for Western Oregon next year, where he plans to study to be a police officer specializing in narcotics.

With Jesuit's football season over, several athletes now switch to training for basketball season. But one key Crusader is still weeks away from hitting the hardwood. Zach Tarver, a 6-3 forward, is recovering from a broken left finger suffered during a midseason football practice. It was an unusually bad break, one that ended Tarver's season. 'It was painful,' he says, but not as painful as Friday's loss to Clackamas. Sometime in December, Tarver expects to join the basketball team, which lost to Clackamas in last year's third-place game at state.

John Teuscher of the St. Johns Soccer Club reports that 20 players, including six girls, braved rain that sometimes blew sideways to try out for a club team on Nov. 16 at Columbia Park. The club probably will field one boys team and might have a girls team if it can double the number of girls in the next three weeks. For information, call 503-672-9264.