Jesuit's Nenow wins boys XC title, Crusaders sweep team competition
It's one thing to want it, it's another to get it done.
Jesuit senior Jacob Nenow has been working and training with eyes on a state cross-country championship since he arrived at the private Beaverton school in 2019. Last year he finished fourth, but this year he bested everyone, winning the boys state title with a time of 15:06.3 last Saturday, Nov. 5, at Lane Community College in Eugene.
"Ever since June I've been thinking towards this day," Nenow said following the race, "so to be able to execute and do everything I want to do today is amazing."
The Crusaders senior bested second place finisher, Lincoln's Samy Anderson, by 9.2 seconds, but then watched as his Jesuit teammates, Gus Clevinger (3rd), Josh Augustine (5th), Caden Swanson (8th) and Matthew Wroblewski (19th) carried Jesuit to a second straight boys state team championship.
"I knew our team was gonna do great today and it was great to see," Nenow said. "I think we had like, three in the top five and then four and top 10. That's just awesome.
"We've done a lot of hill work and tempo work and I think that paid off."
The Crusaders finished with 33 points, followed by Lincoln (84), West Salem (98), Franklin (130), Central Catholic (149), and Sunset (170).
Sunset was led by senior Inbaa Chennai who finished 17th with a time of 15:50.9, and was followed by teammates Jackson Vande Zandschulp (24th), Thomas Huelskamp (40th), Avery Cesar (70th), and Jake White (83rd).
Tualatin's Aaron Lakeman was 32nd with a time of 16:12.0.
The Glencoe boys finished 14th and were led by scorers Trenton Abraham (46th), Ben Mason (49th), Ethan Bothwell (79th), Jared Klingler (117th) and Garrett Frongner (136th).
Forest Grove senior Jacob Friesen—a first-year cross-country competitor—too impressed, finishing in 13th place. Friesen placed second at the previous week's Pacific Conference Championships behind Newberg's Anthony Giesch, and at State said he was mostly pleased with his performance and ultimately his result
"The game plan was to tuck in with the front pack, be composed and not really make a move until the track," Friesen said. "I think I executed really well. I tried to go with the front pack but they kind of just pulled away — they made a move on that downhill, about a mile and a half in, and I was struggling."
Not to be outdone, the Jesuit girls claimed three of the race's top-seven runners and all five scoring runners in the top-19 en route to a state team championship of their own.
The Crusaders were led by sophomore Maura O'Scannlain who finished third to Lake Oswego's Ana Peters (17:56.8) and Central Catholic's Ella McGillis (17:57.3) with a time of 18:00.5. O'Scannlain said she was aiming at an individual title, but while that wasn't meant to be, the team title was equally if not more exciting to come home with.
"I was just trying to stay in the lead pack and hopefully win but I got outkicked in the end — gave it everything I have," O'Scannlain said. "I was really excited about today, especially because we've had so many people injured."
Other Jesuit finishers included Liliana Hudnut (5th), Maggie Bennett (7th), Amalie Biel (12th), and Emma Bennett (19th).
The Crusaders won the team competition with 40 points, followed by Lincoln (98), Sunset (141), South Eugene (155), and Tigard (160).
Sunset was led by Paige Wiley who placed 13th with a time of 18:49.5. The senior said she's been struggling with injuries for much of the season and due to such felt she didn't quite have her best, but in the end was mostly pleased with her individual performance, while exceedingly happy about the performance of her team consisting of scorers Elissa Schaeffer, Kiera Beyer, Emily Roskowski, and Kailua Balazs.
"I love every single girl on our team," Wiley said. "We work super well together. We know how to push each other. I love running with them every day."
The team titles were another notch in what's a very big belt for the Jesuit cross-country program, but Crusaders head coach Tom Rothenberger said there remains work to be done this season for both the girls and boys teams.
"We have to turn around here and go to Boise and up to the Showcase," the Jesuit coach said. "We have more races ahead, so we're truly still trying to figure it out. They're pretty young runners, and they're still figuring out what it is that they need to do to run well."
Tigard's Sabine Kim finished an impressive eight for the Tigers who were led by scorers Kim, Lillian Herman, Chloe Thompson, Mercedes Harms and Isabel Pope.
Kim said that despite struggling to stay with the lead group, she accomplished her goal of finishing in the top-10.
"I just tried to stay with the first pack, but they went out really fast so it was difficult," she said. "I just tried to stay comfortable the first lap and then the second stay in the top 10 so I could podium."
Sherwood finished 14th in the team competition and was led by sophomore Senoya Bugher who placed 42nd.
On the boys side, Marshfield's Alexander Garcia-Silver won the race with at time of 15:22.2, followed by Juan Diego Contreras from The Dalles, Jaden Owens from Cottage Grove (3rd), Leo Lemann from The Dalles, (4th), and Ben Hernandez from Philomath (5th).
The Dalles (57 points) won the team competition, followed closely by Philomath (60).
Scappoose was 13th and was led by Charles Leader who placed 54th with a time of 18:26.0.
"I didn't really have a solid plan — it was to go out there and finish," Leader said. "I think you can't be too mentally prepared, and I could have tried to calm down and make it more light."
St. Helens' Ben Zuschlag finished 50th individually and was pleased with his result.
"Today I was planning on going out strong and finishing strong," he said. "Trying to get the guy in front of me. Feel like I did a good job."
On the girls side, La Grande took the team title (62 points) led by Cecilia Villagomez, Emily Tubbs and Brooke Perry who finished second through fourth respectively.
Scappoose placed 12th in the team competition, led by freshman Amalie Anderson who was 46th individually.
"I have not been training as much as my teammates, so it feels good to stay in that top spot for my team," Anderson said. "I kind of decided what I wanted my splits to be and executed that."
The Valley Catholic boys finished second in the 3A event, while the Valiant girls were fifth in the 3A/2A/1A event.
Sophomore Jaya Simmons placed third individually for Valley Catholic, while junior Morgan Amano was the Valiants' highest boys finisher, placing eighth.
"I feel I could've raced a little better but I'm happy with the time," Amano said. "Could've taken the first mile a little more conservative. I did realize I got out a little fast, just tired throughout the rest of the race."
Banks freshman Sophie Schoolmeester impressed with a fifth place individual finish for the Braves, while fellow freshman Amin Diani was 17th respectively in the boys division.
Elias Esquivel contributed to this story.
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