Falcon harriers make history
La Salle guys place first at the Class 4A state cross country championships, duplicating a feat accomplished by La Salle girls a year ago
EUGENE La Salle Prep distance runners made school history on Saturday, capturing the first boys state team title in cross country in the history of their school.
And the way the Falcons won made the accomplishment even more impressive. They did it as a team and they won handily, outscoring second-place Siuslaw 54-89.
They had their five scoring runners all place in the top 24 in a 105-runner field.
It was really a team effort, said La Salle coach Tyrone Stammers. They ran the race that they planned, just like they have done all year going out as a pack for the first two miles, and after that, attacking the course and going after it.
They went out and controlled their own destiny. I could not have asked for anything more. It was a total team effort from start to finish....
Everyone on the team was passing runners when they came onto the track at the end. All-in-all, it was their best race of the year.
I think they were inspired by what the girls did last year, Stammers said. It gave them confidence that they could do it.
A year ago La Salle girls won the Class 4A girls team title, the first state title by any La Salle team in the sport of cross country.
After the state meet last year, we noticed that other teams had a lot of graduating seniors, while we had a lot of good runners coming back, said La Salle senior Davis Keeney. Thats when we started thinking we might have a shot at it. We trained hard all summer. A lot of guys did 50 miles a week.... We set a goal as a team and we worked hard for it.
Ive been to state all four years, said La Salle senior Logan Veasy. My freshman year we placed third, my sophomore year we placed fourth, my junior year we placed third again. This year we finally did it. Its an incredible feeling! These guys are my brothers. We did it as a team, and it feels great to be a part of this team.
It means a lot to be the first [boys] team to do it, said La Salle senior Will Thompson. When I first came to the team two years ago, I didnt know what to expect. We had a lot of guys that came together from different places and we all had the same goal in mind from the start. And we did it. It feels great!
I was originally a soccer player, said La Salle senior Colton Passmore. When I was in eighth grade La Salle won state in soccer, so I came to La Salle to play soccer. But the soccer team [when I got there] was terrible, so I switched to cross country, and Im glad I did. Winning a state title [in cross country] is amazing!
Theres only one thing I would change if I could. I would have done cross country all four years.
Its still sinking in, said Keeney. This means a lot. We put in so much work in the last three seasons, and its paid off. Its an amazing feeling! The first team title in the history of La Salle....
Asked why this team was able to accomplish what no other La Salle boys team has done, Passmore said, We had confidence in ourselves. All season weve been running in big races, and weve learned how to compete when to back off, when to surge, when to hold back again. Everyone had someone on the team to run with, and that was part of it. Wed push each other until we were ready to drop.
The senior leadership on the team this year was amazing! said Stammers. Our top four seniors were great leaders, on-and-off the course.
Thompson headed up the effort for the Falcons at this years state meet, placing fourth in the field with a 16:26 clocking for the Lane Community College 5,000-meter state-meet course. His time was an improvement of 18 seconds over last year, when he placed 10th.
La Salle junior Jason Rae (16:47), Passmore (16:52), Veasy (17:00) and Keeney (17:13) rounded out the scoring, placing 12th, 14th, 19th and 24th respectively. La Salle sophomore Truman Rae (17:24) placed 32nd and La Salle junior Nathan Tamashiro (18:15) placed 66th.
Keeney improved his time by 35 seconds over last year, when he placed 42nd.
While La Salle boys were getting it done, Molalla girls did the Tri-Valley Conference proud, winning the Class 4A girls team title. They scored 50 points to finish well in front of the runner-up team from Phoenix (71).
Molalla had three girls in the top 10 and five girls in the top 30. Senior Emily Bever (18:59), junior Hannah Clarizio (19:23) and sophomore Amanda Clarizio (19:26) placed second, seventh and ninth respectively. Molalla sophomore Audrey Bever (19:58) placed 16th and Molalla sophomore Brianna Loughridge (20:44) placed 30th.