Local runners get their first crack at the 5K course at Lane Community College
Two local cross-country teams got an early taste of the state meet experience last Saturday at the Northwest Classic, a 56-team invitational held on the 5K course at Lane Community College.
Both Century and Liberty sent their squads down to Eugene for the Class 5A/6A races and the results were extremely encouraging.
Liberty had the top two individual finishers among local participants, with senior Michael Francy finishing seventh in the boys race and sophomore Rachel Khaw taking eighth in the girls race.
Francy ran a three-second personal best of 16 minutes, 15 seconds to finish just behind the Siuslaw duo of Mack Marbas (16:05) and Mitchell Butler (16:06). Forest Groves Geremia Lizier-Zmudzinski won the race in 15:41.
On the girls side, Khaw ran a season-best of 19:01 to finish eighth, coming to the line behind Summit freshman Olivia Brooks (18:48). Grant sophomore Ella Donaghu won the race in 17:43, beating runner-up Hannah Gindlesperger of Summit by 17 seconds.
The Liberty girls finished the meet in 19th place as a team, scoring 474 points. St. Marys Academy won the team event with 57, beating Summit by a single point.
After Khaw, Libertys top finisher was junior Alexanna Fisher, who ran 22:18 to claim 94th place. Senior Kiley Bonin finished 124th (23:11), sophomore Sydney Rose was 136th (24:02), junior Hannah Hill was 143rd (24:57) and senior Megan Rose was 148th (25:44).
For the Liberty boys, Francys outstanding performance was the highlight, but junior Austin Finster ran a time of 17:58 to finish 102nd. Sophomore Jack Stemm finished 138th (18:31), junior Alex Dickinson was 155th (19:03), freshman Jacob Espinosa was 161st (19:16), junior Spencer Brown was 165th (19:20) and senior Ashton Hunger was 181st (20:09).
That put the Falcons in 23rd place as a team with 549 points, just behind Century, which finished 22nd with 516 points.
Centurys top individual finisher was sophomore Angel Salazar, who posted a time of 16:43 to claim 29th place in an extremely competitive field.
He was followed by juniors Ryan Barclay in 93rd place (17:52) and Caleb Younk in 96th (17:55). Senior Drew Scott finished 134th (18:28), senior Hao Pham was 176th (19:50), junior Colt Pierce was 183rd (20:14) and sophomore Blake Cole took 186th (20:34).
The Century girls were paced by junior Braanna Weber in 27th place with a personal-best time of 20:18. Her effort helped land the Jaguars in 19th place as a team with 487 points.
Other Century finishers included junior Mira Gill in 110th place (22:52), freshman Valerie Bittleston in 119th (23:07), senior Celeste Montoya in 120th (23:07), senior Kyra Jorgensen in 141st (24:42) and senior Kassandra Morrison in 144th (24:57).
Both teams were back in action this week with meets on Wednesday (results were not available at press time). Liberty will also be traveling to Nike Pre Nationals on Saturday before a Northwest Oregon Conference meet on Oct. 9.