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Newberg turns in a strong performance at the Pacific Conference last week in McMinnville

GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - Senior Abigail Hein is the lone runner from the girls' squad headed to state, finishing fifth at districts in 20:04.

After competing and succeeding at the Pacific Conference district meet in McMinnville on Oct. 30, the Newberg cross-country team has state to look forward to this week.

The boys team qualified with a second-place finish, while the girls had an individual runner qualify for the races in Eugene.

With a team score of 69, Newberg achieved its second-place finish in the Pacific Conference meet thanks in large part to a slim time gap. The boys stuck together on the paths at Joe Dancer Park, with many of them finishing within seconds of each other.

"The boys ran a good race to get second and qualify for state," NHS coach Bruce Sinkbeil said in an email. "They ran the same kind of race they had been running all year, which is not always easy to do at districts … They were excited and relieved after what happened last year."

Junior Asher Tatsumi was the leading runner for the Tigers, finishing in ninth place in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 16:21 – a personal record. He was trailed by junior Jonathan Rolfe (16:37) in 11th place, twin freshmen Zachary (16:53) and Anthony (16:54) Giesch in 14th and 15th place, and junior William Stewart (17:05) in 20th.GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - Photos, from left: Junior Asher Tatsumi, who led the boys' team all season, finished ninth in the district race with a personal record time of 16:21.

The time gap between the first and third Newberg runner was 32 seconds, while the one-to-five time gap was 43 seconds. The consistency the Tigers showed carried them to state, where they aim for a strong finish to an impressive 2019 season.

While the girls finished fourth out of seven teams at the Pacific Conference meet, failing to qualify for state competition, they did have an individual runner make her mark and advance to state. Senior Abigail Hein finished fifth at districts with a time of 20:04, punching her ticket to Eugene in the process.

"The girls were disappointed with their fourth-place finish, but Kendall (McKibbon) had been sick for the last two weeks and was not close to 100 percent," Sinkbeil said. "Abigail ran a great race to qualify for state in fifth place; she qualified last year in seventh place. She ran in a front pack of four runners most of the race ... a great effort on her part. That was a season best for her by about 30 seconds."

The OSAA 6A state championships will be held at Lane Community College in Eugene on Saturday, with other races for lower classifications being held there all day.

The 6A girls' race – in which Hein will participate – will begin at 2:55 p.m., while the 6A boys start their race against the top teams from around the state at 3:30 p.m. Weather is expected to be cloudy with a high of 64 that day in Eugene.

For more information on the OSAA cross-country championships, visit and click on the cross-country tab. Information on the meet's location, cost of attendance and areas that fans can watch the race is all available online.

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