PREPS: Girls cross country contenders line up for trophy dash at Lane CC
St. Marys Academy cross country coach Mike Bojorquez predicts a 1-2 Metro League finish in the 6A girls championship on Saturday. He sees Sunset most likely to finish first and Jesuit second in the Oregon School Activities Association state showdown at Lane Community College in Eugene.
After those two, its a toss-up between Sheldon, Grant, us, South Eugene, Lincoln, Aloha and Tualatin, Bojorquez says. It will depend on who is on that day. However, South Eugene and Sheldon live in Eugene and can train on the state meet course, which is a huge advantage.
The Blues survived some hair-raising moments at the Oct. 21 Three Rivers League district meet to wear the crown with a 58-59 edge on runner-up Tualatin.
We had an interesting district meet, Bojorquez says. Batya Beard, our No. 4 runner, was ill, which I didn't know at the time. She was sick before the race, during the race and after the race. I was told by her father that at one point she came to a complete stop to throw up. She battled back to finish in 11th place, which was huge for us.
Another thing that ultimately put the Blues over the top, and on top of the Timberwolves, was that SMAs No. 5 runner, Kate Patterson, while not at her best, edged a Canby runner by .45 seconds, gaining the one notch the Blues needed for their team total.
Lacey Conner, a senior, was the top gun for St. Marys at district, racing to second place.
Overall, the Blues top four ran well, but not their best this season, Bojorquez says. After seeing the results from all the leagues, I still feel we have a shot at a trophy.
At the Portland Interscholastic League district meet, Grants girls took first behind two-time defending state champion Ella Donaghu, a senior who has been dominating again this fall.
Grants solid lineup for the OSAA championship race includes three other seniors Rennie Kendrick, Zelia Naefen and Thea Foulk, along with freshman Macey Holt, junior Gilian Foley and sophomore Katie Baughman.
Lincolns girls took second at district, behind Donaghu and Grant, with Franklin placing third to earn the other qualifying spot at state.
Lincoln had the Nos. 2 and 4 district meet finishers in freshman Kyla Becker and junior Annika Steele, and freshman Mary Skakel was sixth for the Cardinals.
Our girls ran great at district, but we are contending with some amazing teams at state this year, Lincoln coach Suzanne Parry says. I think our girls capable of a fifth- to seventh-place finish, but only if we run well. And only one of our girls has run at state before, which will make it hard to run well.
But, as Parry notes, they have stepped up very well so far despite their youth and experience. Its been a very successful season, regardless of how things go at state.
Wilson sophomore Grace Heizer finished third at the PIL district meet, behind Donaghu and Becker. She earned an individual trip to state, although the Trojans girls just missed a team spot, with 75 points to Franklins 72 at district.
The girls team had an incredible race, Esbensen says of the Fernhill Park district race on Oct. 21. On paper, they were pretty far behind the top three teams. We had a vision of trust and toughness that we thought could get us close.
Behind Heizer at district for Wilson came two juniors (Iris Emerick, 13th, and Eleanor Stein, 15th), two sophomores (Adahra Poasa, 19th, and Isabelle Brooks, 25th) and freshman Francesca Ierulli, who was 29th.
Those three points hurt, but we are encouraged about the future, Esbensen says. We will continue to work, and hope to come back stronger next year. We learned a lot this year, and were all excited to see Grace race at state. She is really coming into her own as a competitor.