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Air quality prevents high school race from happening, Brandon Brasher wins open race

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Brandon Brasher crosses the finish line during the open race at the Intermountain Conference Preview. Brasher won the open race with a time of 17:31. The high school races were canceled because of air quality issues.The Intermountain Conference Preview Race, which was scheduled for Saturday morning at the Barnes Butte trail system, never happened.

The race, which was originally scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m., was put on hold due to air quality issues. Smoke from a controlled burn in the Ochoco National Forest, coupled with small fires that started due to lightning strikes Thursday night, left the air quality hovering around 155, well above the allowable limits set by the OSAA.

With high school runners unable to run on schedule, the open race was moved up to 8:30 a.m. as race organizers hoped the air quality would improve enough to run the high school race later in the day.

Brandon Brasher let wire-to-wire in the open race, winning by well over a minute as he finished the five kilometer course in a time of 17:31.

Josh Davis, an assistant coach at Ridgeview High School moved into second place with a late kick, finishing in a time of 19:14, while Kenneth Carpenter was third in 19:17.

Kimberly Bonner was the first woman finisher, crossing the finish line in eighth place overall with a time of 27:26.

Jaida Crawley finished second in the women's race and last overall with a time of 30:59.

Following the conclusion of the open race, teams waited for more than two hours hoping the air quality would improve enough to finally race.

During the wait, the Mountain View team attempted to entertain themselves and the crowd by singing and dancing.

The coaches had a meeting at 10 a.m. and at that point in time some athletes began to leave.

However, enough runners remained that organizers could have still run a race.

By 11 a.m., the Mountain View team had waited long enough and decided to leave.

With Mountain View runners making up more than half of the remaining field, the race was finally canceled.

As of press time, no plans had been made to reschedule the meet.

Crook County is not scheduled to race again until Saturday, Sept. 14 when they travel to Eugene to compete in the Northwest Classic, which will be held on the state meet course at Lane Community College.

Races begin at 10:30 a.m. with the girls middle school race. The final race of the day is set for 3:40 p.m. with the Class 5A and 6A girls varsity race set to run at 1:40 p.m. and the boys class 5A and 6A race varsity race to follow at 2:20 p.m.

More than 70 high school teams are scheduled to compete.

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