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Bryan Strang leads Lions to XC state

Senior runs with the top pack, finishing fourth just a second or two from moving up


by: JOHN BREWINGTON - St. Helens\' Bryan Strang had his best race at district, leading the Lions to second place and a berth at the state XC meet.Going into last Wednesday’s Northwest Oregon Conference district cross country meet, St. Helens Coach Gerry Tinkle had some goals for his team, but wasn’t quite sure they could get there.

Tinkle’s charges went him a few better—the boys earning a trip to state as the number two team, and the girls posting their highest finish in several years.

Most notable effort on the day came from the Lions’ Bryan Strang. He improved his personal best by over 40 seconds, ran with the leaders and came within two seconds of second place.

Asked if he beat his personal best, Strang looked at the sheet and elatedly said, “Big time.”

He stayed within range of the top three runners the entire race and missed out on third place by just two-tenths of a second. Strang was also the only junior among the top eight runners. All the rest were seniors who will be gone next season.

“It was a very good day for the Lions,” Tinkle said. “Every runner had a personal best with the exception of three boys. One got a side ache and one had an asthma attack. All of the girls had PRs. Both varsity teams carried out the race plan exactly as we laid it out. We knew who we had to beat, marked those runners and were able to either hold them off or pass them in the last half mile.”

Tinkle added, “Bryan Strang had a very good race. Taking fourth in this league is pretty impressive. His time was only six seconds off of Ryan Byrd’s (championship) time from last year. It seems that all of our runners stood out, though. It was truly a team effort. Every member did his or her part to give the team the success that we achieved. How did we come so far this year? T-E-A-M.” by: JOHN BREWINGTON - Cynthia Fenrich led the St. Helens girls' cross country team to a fourth-place finish, their best in several years.

He said, “I am very proud of this group. They have worked hard all year, made sacrifices, and had fun. Several coaches commented on how much we improved over the course of the season.”

Tinkle wasn't just referring to the boys efforts either. The girls finished fourth, a marked improvement from last season. Cynthia Fenrich led the pack with a 14th place, good enough for second all league.

“That was the best finish for our girls since 1999, our last year in the Cowapa league,” Tinkle said. “We had six girls under 23 minutes. I love cross country!”

Additionally, Strang made the all-league first team, Nathan Reed the second team, and Casey Cook honorable mention. Freshman Emily Hepworth also got honorable mention.

The St. Helens boys will lose two of their top five and three of their top seven runners this year. However, six of the jayvee runners are freshmen, and one is a junior. The girls lose just one runner from the whole girls’ team.

Boys

Team scores: Wilsonville 21, St. Helens 80, Sandy 96, Sherwood 98, Liberty 101, Putnam 176, Parkrose 177, Milwaukie 195.

St. Helens Individuals: 4) Bryan Strang, 16:11.6; 10) Nathan Reed, 17:03.7; 17) Casey Cooke, 17:24.7; 24) Tanner Boyle, 17:40.2; 25) David Sumsion, 17:41.7; 42) Fuller Worman, 19:12.1; 50) Eliazar Lopez, 19:59.3.

Jayvees: 16) Tanner Matlock, 18:55.3; 36) Stephan Vanderhoff, 19:52.8; 61) Josiah Pense, 21:06.0; 63) Miles Boynton, 21:10.3; 73) Corey Wilkendorf, 21:37.6; 79) Gary Graves, 21:51.7; 90) Josh Ferrell, 23:24.3.

Girls

Team scores: Sherwood 41, Liberty 78, Wilsonville 79, St. Helens 119, Sandy 126, Putnam 132, Milwaukie 148.

St. Helens Individuals: 14) Cynthia Fenrich, 21:04.8; 18) Emily Hepworth, 21:16.5; 26) Alyna Habel, 22:07.5; 29) Megan Waite, 22:17.1; 32) Stephanie Pfau, 22:35.9; 35) Jamie Bradford, 22:39.4; 44) Johanna Parkhurst, 23:52.5.

Jayvees: 29) Megan Barnes, 24:12.6; 30) Kiana Pense, 24:17.8; 32) Lauren Chambers, 24:44.1; 36) Amy Sumsion, 25:22.1.