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La Salle coeds take state in Class 4A cross country

by: JOHN DENNY - The athletes on La Salle Preps girls cross country team have a right to be very proud. They won the first-place team trophy at Saturdays Class 4A State Championship Meet, the first state championship in their sport in school history. Vying for the standout team were: (from left) Noelle Gammon, Hannah Baggs, Nicole Scott, Hannah Hildreth, Olivia Ogard, Kelsey Cathcart, Morgan Toll, Carly Veasy and (not pictured) Madeleine Ogard. There were five seniors on this years team: Scott, Hildreth, Cathcart, Toll and Madeleine Ogard.EUGENE — La Salle Prep coed distance runners ran the race of their lives here Saturday, and the all-out effort earned them the first state championship in cross country in the history of their school.

The Falcon girls won the Class 4A State Meet handily, out-pointing second-place Klamath 54-70.

It was a total team effort, as the Falcons had their five scoring runners all finish in the top 20 in the 106-runner Class 4A girls field.

La Salle freshman Carly Veasy headed the effort, completing the Lane Community College course in 19:49. Her performance earned her sixth place and first-team all-state honors.

Rounding out the scoring were: senior Kelsey Cathcart, 15th (20:29); senior Morgan Toll, 18th (20:47); freshman Olivia Ogard, 19th (20:51); and senior Hannah Hildreth, 20th (20:52).

“This means a lot,” Hildreth said. “We’ve got five seniors on the team. Four of us have been on the team since we were freshmen.

“Our freshmen year we didn’t even make state. As sophomores we were 10th or 11th [at state], and last year we were fourth. All the hard work and training has paid off. It’s an amazing way to end our senior year!”

“On paper, we were 20 points behind Klamath Union,” said La Salle coach Brian Devine. “Our hope was, that if everything went well, we’d take second, and maybe get close to Klamath. Everything went perfectly. The girls couldn’t have run better.

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - La Salle freshman Carly Veasy and senior Kelsey Cathcart take a turn at the two-mile mark at Saturdays Class 4A State High School Cross Country Championships, contested under sunny skies at Lane Community College.“By two miles into the race I felt confident we were going to win it because of how the girls were racing....”

The previous best finish by a La Salle cross country team came way back in 1982, when La Salle girls finished second to Gold Beach.

Devine said that seniors Ogard and Hildreth “were the linchpins for us [in the run to this year’s state title]. They ran so well. By two miles they were ahead of Klamath Union’s third and fourth runners, which was better than we expected....

“Carly was also huge. We had hoped she’d maybe make top 10. She put a surge on in the last half mile and got sixth, which was totally unexpected....

“Morgan [Toll] and Kelsey [Cathcart] were right where we needed them to be.”

Molalla girls also performed well at this year’s state meet, scoring 76 points and capturing the third-place team hardware.

And La Salle boys had a good state meet, scoring 93 points, and finishing third — behind Siuslaw (29) and North Valley (52).

“The boys ran the best they’ve run since I’ve been here,” Devine said. “They ran a tremendous race. It’s just that the field this year was really strong.”

Devine noted that La Salle boys placed fourth at state three years ago, third two years ago, and fourth last fall.

The Falcon guys were led by junior Will Thompson, who crossed the finish line in 16:44, good for 10th place. Also scoring for the boys were: junior Logan Veasy, 20th (16:59); junior Colton Passmore, 22nd (17:02); senior Nick Lien, 23rd (17:04); and senior Patrick Walsh, 33rd (17:31).

Thompson’s time was a lifetime-best time by six seconds, which was unexpected, because the hilly Lane Community College course has a reputation of being slower than most courses that high school athletes run on.

Gonzalez, Hilsenteger

earn top-15 placings

Milwaukie senior Sasha Gonzalez (19:47) and Putnam senior Kelsey Hilsenteger (19:55) held their own at Saturday’s Class 5A state championships, placing 13th and 15th respectively in the 91-runner field.

Wilsonville junior Taryn Rawlings (19:19) fared best of Northwest Oregon Conference runners, placing sixth. Liberty freshman Rachel Khaw (19:35) placed 10th.

Hood River junior Grace Grim won the 5A girls race with an 18:40 clocking.

Summit (83 points) topped Corvallis (91 points) for Class 5A girls team honors.

Summit (22 points) ran away with the team title for Class 5A boys, placing four runners in the top eight. Summit senior Travis Neuman (15:29) set the pace in the 5A boys race.

In Class 6A, Clackamas junior Jared Bell (16:43) and Oregon City junior Al Lacey (16:57) placed 30th and 43rd respectively in a 107-runner boys field, while Clackamas sophomore Zoe Clegg (20:35) and Oregon City senior Rachel Crawford (21:10) placed 47th and 67th respectively in a 107-runner girls field.

Grant (66 points) edged St. Mary’s (68 points) for the Class 6A girls team title. South Eugene sophomore Sara Tsai (17:42) was the pace-setter.

Central Catholic scored 52 points to finished well ahead of the runner-up team from Jesuit (76 points), in first place in the Class 6A boys state meet. Sheldon senior Jackson Darland (15:40) finished just ahead of Beaverton senior Dan Oekerman (15:48) for individual honors.