The Mustang duo handle last year's state runner-up

Two female runners form Milwaukie High School are making a lot of noise in cross country this fall.

Milwaukie senior Shannon Susbauer and Mustang junior Sasha Gonzalez placed one-two in the 54-runner varsity girls field at last week's Northwest Oregon Conference Preview Meet, held at Blue Lake Park.

Among those they finished ahead of was Wilsonville sophomore Taryn Rawlings, who won the NWOC district championship meet a year ago and went on to place second at the 2010 Class 5A State Meet.

Susbauer and Gonzalez defeated Rawlings handily. Susbauer was clocked at 19:29 over the 5,000-meter Blue Lake Park course and Gonzalez was clocked at 20:00. Rawlings finished third, in 20:17.

Susbauer improved her time by 37 seconds over her performance at the same meet a year ago; Gonzalez improved her time by 25 seconds from a year ago.

'I'm excited!' said Milwaukie girls cross country coach Jen Seibel. 'I'm not at all surprised with what Shannon did because she's worked so hard and I knew she would be better. But I was surprised Sasha got second.

'Not because she doesn't work hard, because she does. But in the past she's always seemed to struggle at the end of the race. That wasn't the case [at last week's preview meet]. Sasha pulled away from Taryn with a half mile to go and she finished the race strong.'

It wasn't the first standout performance by Susbauer and Gonzalez this season.

The two girls finished second and third behind St. Mary's Paige Rice - the girl favored to win the Class 6A State Meet - at Newport High School's 27th annual 'Beach Run.'

Susbauer was clocked at 18:42 over the 5,000-meter course, just 12 seconds slower than Rice. Gonzalez was clocked at 19:12.

'According to Athletic.Net, Shannon has the best time [this fall] for Class 5A and Sasha has the second-best time for 5A,' said Seibel. 'It's exciting!'

Seibel said she was also 'pleasantly surprised' with how Milwaukie girls fared as a team at the 2011 NWOC Preview Meet.

'The meet was unscored as an invitational, but if it had been scored, we would have finished a point ahead of Wilsonville, in second place,' said Seibel.

Should the Mustangs duplicate the runner-up finish to Sherwood at this year's NWOC District Meet, they'll qualify their entire girls team for the Class 5A State Meet.

Rounding out Milwaukie's scoring at the preview meet were: sophomore Becky Ponnay, 16th (22:30); sophomore Kendall Gronvold, 23rd (22:49); and senior Dawn Hilley, 27th (23:27).


Boys 3rd

Milwaukie also had strong performances from three boys at last week's preview meet. Seniors David Santillan (16:40), Jonatan Santillan (16:56) and Sterling Hummel (17:46) placed third, sixth and 14th respectively in the 65-runner varsity boys field. Jonatan improved his time by nearly a minute over a year ago.

Milwaukie boys finished third, behind Wilsonville and St. Helens, in the unofficial preview meet team scoring.

'We were faster than last year, but we need to get better,' said Milwaukie boys coach Bill Burdette. 'We were 30 points behind St. Helens.'

Burdette noted that his boys team won the Newport Beach Run, finishing well in front of teams from Newport, Toledo and Sweet Home. David (16:37), Jonatan (16:55) and Sterling (17:39) placed second, third and sixth respectively in the varsity boys race at Newport.

'We're better than we were last year, and it's encouraging,' said Burdette. 'But we've got some pretty high goals and we've still got a lot of work to do if we are going to meet them. We'd like to place top two [in league] and get a team to state.'

Junior Kelsey Hilsenteger ran a strong race for Putnam at last week's NWOC Preview, placing fourth (20:18), just a second back of Rawlings.

'Kelsey ran well,' said Putnam coach Brent Eggers. 'She was 32 seconds faster than last year's time. She got out-kicked by last year's district champion down the stretch.

Putnam also got strong performances from seniors Nathan Geiter (17:11) and Ryan Mansfield (17:38), who both improved their times by 1-1/2 minutes over the same meet a year ago. They placed ninth and 13th respectively in the field.

Geiter (17:44) and Mansfield (18:21) also ran well in a Sept. 8 invitational meet hosted by Canby at Molalla River State Park, placing fifth and 13th respectively out of 41 runners.

'It was really hot, so the times weren't great, but they did really well,' said Eggers. 'There were some quality teams there - Sunset, Franklin and Canby.'

Mustang guys

2-0 in duals

Last week's league preview meet was scored as tri-dual competition for the match-ups between some league teams.

Milwaukie (2-0) and Wilsonville (2-0) were the only boys teams to go undefeated. Milwaukie guys defeated Sandy 22-33 and Sherwood 23-32.

Wilsonville boys defeated Putnam 17-44 and St. Helens 24-31. Putnam (1-1) defeated Liberty 19-39.

Sherwood and Wilsonville were the only girls teams to go unbeaten. Sherwood (2-0) defeated Milwaukie 25-35 and Parkrose (15 to incomplete); Wilsonville (2-0) defeated Putnam 19-34 and St. Helens 19-43.

Milwaukie girls edged Sandy 27-28 and Putnam girls topped Liberty 20-37.

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