Class 1A cross-country round-up: Veritas team competes in districts as well

LEBANON -- St. Paul's Broden Lear entered the 2019 cross country season looking to earn a top-10 podium spot at the state championship race in Eugene at the end of the season. The junior runner took the final step toward his goal on Halloween, finishing third at the 2A/1A Special District 2 championships to earn an individual berth to the state championships on Saturday.

Lear set a new personal record at the district meet held at Cheadle Lake State Park, finishing in 16:53.10 to shave nearly four seconds off his previous best.

Over the past two races, Lear has turned in the two best times of his running career, finishing under 17 minutes to put himself into the conversation for a top-10 finish at the state championship meet set for Lane Community College in Eugene.

Last year, Lear finished the state meet in 17:27, two places and three seconds shy of a coveted podium finish. Although Lear's time last week was more than 30 seconds better than his state meet time last year, so too has the competition improved over the past 12 months.

Lear's PR ranked 15th overall out of the best 2A/1A boys finishes in the state this season and a total of 18 runners have posted times under 17 minutes this season, making the coming state championship race a crowded field for those seeking a top 10 finish.

Lear will be competing alone again this year after the St. Paul boys team finished sixth at the district race with 151 points. The race was won by East Linn Christian with 60 points, led by district champion Brandon Williams (16:35.20).

Behind Lear, fellow junior teammate Hayden Schindler was the next St. Paul runner to cross the finish line, setting a new PR of 19:43.50 to place 35th.

The rest of the scoring Buckaroos included Gage Cook (38th, 20:02.20), Jackson Cook (43rd, 20:23.10) and Aiden Daimler (47th, 20:26.10), who set a new PR as well. St. Paul's Joshua Hershberger finished in 76th place with a time of 21:59:90, while cohort Mason Cacka ran a time of 22:11:80 to finish 77th.

Two SPHS girls competed in the meet as well. Jackie Diaz finished 52nd in the girls race with a time of 25:25:00 and Abby Gonzales earned a 90th place finish with a time of 30:38:60.

McChesney leads the Vanguard

Veritas senior Cam McChesney finished in second place at the 2A/1A district race with a time of 16:41 to lead the Vanguard boys to second place in the team standings. The boys qualified for state, while the girls did too thanks to a strong performance from their top runners as well.

McChesney was trailed by senior Will Lattus (18:24) in 12th place, sophomore Xander Aguilar (18:31) in 15th place and senior Nic Ereminas (18:38) in 16th place. The boys amassed 81 team points, trailing only East Linn Christian (60) in the team standings.

The girls finished fourth as a team in their race, which also included 3A schools, by compiling 114 team points. Sophomore Breanna Schmitt led the way for the Vanguard by finishing third in 21:01. Sophomore Sydney Olander finished 10th in 22:09 while her twin sister Natalie finished 26th in 23:42. Sophomore Grace Wassei rounded out the top five runners for Veritas with a 35th place time of 24:15.

The 2019 boys 3A/2A/1A state cross country championships will begin at 10:35 a.m. Saturday. The girls will start earlier at 10 a.m. Both Vanguard squads will join their compatriots from St. Paul in competing in the races, which will draw top runners from those classifications from all four corners of the state.

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