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Crusader junior wins his first Metro League championship, Jesuit rolls to title

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit junior Ryan Schumacher and the Crusader boys cross country team won the Metro League title.

The Schumachers are quickly becoming the first, and possibly the swiftest, family of the Jesuit cross country program.

At the outset, there was Josh, who's running Stanford, then Makenna who is competing for the University of Washington, now Ryan Schumacher who's quickly coming on in the green and gold. Championships, both cross country and track, state and district alike, are in their blood.

Ryan Schumacher started his own legacy at the Metro League District Championship meet, winning the race in 15:39.22 to help Jesuit take the team title with 17 points Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation Center on Oct 30. The third of four siblings, all of whom are big-time runners, Ryan is carrying on the family name and taking the mantle for one of the state's most prestigious programs.

"We put in a lot of work," Schumacher said. "We came out and trained five, six days a week during the summer. We had 20 guys out here every day. When you get here to districts, to state, that's when you know all hard work the past five or six months has paid off."

Sunset (41) and Aloha (89) took second and third, respectively, to clinch berths at the Class 6A state championship meet at Lane Community College on Saturday. The Apollos are stacked, so much so that Jesuit head coach Tom Rothenberger believes Sunset will be in the hunt for a top-three place at state. Sunset senior David Cummings (15:48.90) and junior Collin Beyer (15:49.60) placed fifth and sixth overall. Cummings charged the finish line with a last gasp sprint down the THRPD grass and crossed before Curran and Larson could lunge across the tape. For the Apollo senior, who's competed against the Jesuit juggernaut for four years, that sprint was a source of swelled up pride. Cummings wasn't about to let the Crusaders confiscate the race's top-five individual spots. Not with purple and white on his uniform.

"That's all I wanted to do, catch those guys," Cummings said. "My legs felt light, I just knew I had to go get it. I heard (Rothenberger) say (Jesuit) had one-through-five and I wasn't going to let that happen. That would've been embarrassing. And this is a fast course. It's the last time you feel like you're flying, so I just wanted to enjoy that."

Sunset sophomore Benjamin Balazs (15:51, eighth place) and junior Alex King (16:07, 10th place) resided in the meet's top-10 individuals. Apollo senior Mason Gerwig (16:12.90) took 12th and senior Carson Cummins (16:14) placed 14th.

"We never really know who our top guy is going to be," Cummings said. "We all try to push each other to be a lot better. We're pretty senior-heavy, but we have young guys like (Balazs) who are fast."

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha junior Leo Torres and Sunset senior Mason Gerwig race to the finish line at the Metro League district meet.

Aloha was led by junior Leo Torres (16:13, 13th place), junior Jon Morton (16:32.60, 16th place), senior Sean Marshall (16:32.80, 17th place), and junior Ethan Daugherty (16:34, 18th place). The Warriors are state meet mainstays and will continue that tradition down in Eugene.

Jesuit was able to separate itself from the rest of the field over the final mile of the race and finished with the top-four individuals. Schumacher, sophomore John Schuler (15:44.60), senior Declan O'Scannlain (15:44.80) and sophomore Caden Hildenbrand (15:48) took the first four spots. Seniors Sam Curran (seventh place, 15:50) and Jonas Larson (15:51, ninth place), as well as junior Aidan Alexander (16:12, 11th place), rounded out a Crusader pack that placed seven of the district's top 11 in the individual standings.

"We have a bond between us that helps us stay really close so that when we get to races, it just feels like a practice," Schumacher said. "It's a lot easier for everyone to stay together. We all work hard every day together. We go on every workout, every training run together."

In any given race, Jesuit can sport eight runners who can run a cross country race in less than 16 minutes. That kind of depth is rarefied. Teams can only run seven entrants in an event, so at every meet, the Crusaders have to send one of their elite competitors down to the junior varsity level. It's an embarrassment of riches, one that Jesuit uses to compete against the top teams in the Northwest and the United States once the high school season is over.

"There's only a 15-second gap between our first and eighth runners," Schumacher said. "That's really special. I don't know any other team in the state, the region, or even the nation that has that small of a spread between everyone."

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