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Scappoose boys cross country heads to state; girls finish fourth in conference with promising future

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Scappoose senior Rowen Suchoski took sixth at the NWOC boys district meet on Oct. 27.The Scappoose boys cross country team will head to state next week, after placing third in the Northwest Oregon Conference championships.

Senior Rowen Suchoski took sixth overall in the 5k against Hillsboro, La Salle Prep, Milwaukie, Parkrose, Putnam, Wilsonville and St. Helens. 

Freshman Charles Leader was the second Scappoose finisher, earning 15th place.

Before the Oct. 27 conference meet, Scappoose coach Kevin Pinkstaff said it was "a little bit of a longshot" to get into the top three teams, which qualify for state.

"The mission is to run their best 5ks of the year at the conference meet. As long as they can do that, regardless of what happens with our results, at least we can say that we showed up and did our best," Pinkstaff said.

Both girls and boys accomplished that goal.

Out of the 18 Scappoose boys that raced for varsity or junior varsity, 13 set personal records. Six out of 12 girls, including senior Angelina Dominguez, set personal records, Pinkstaff said. Several more set season bests.PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Scappoose freshman Addison Halberg took 13th place in the NWOC girls district meet on Oct. 27, fastest among Scappoose girls.

The seven Scappoose runners with the fastest conference meet times will head to state, which means two runners who raced JV will be included in the state lineup.

Senior Luke Suchoski broke his foot early in the season and was cleared to run just two days before the conference meet. Within the first mile of the race, it was clear he wasn't healed enough, Pinkstaff said. Rather than risking further injury — when he still has the spring track season to look ahead to — Luke Suchoski had to drop out.

The team has managed to avoid many COVID-19 quarantines, but injuries and other illnesses have slowed many of the team's strongest runners throughout the season.

"To be honest, during the race, it was not looking good. I was pretty pessimistic," Pinkstaff said.

Rowen Suchoski had been aiming for the top five in the boys race. The top three teams in a conference qualify for state, but the top five individual runners also qualify, meaning a runner can go even if their team doesn't.

Rowen Suchoski took sixth.

Teams' scores are calculated by the rank of their top five runners in a race. Thanks to strong performances by other Scappoose runners, the team finished third.

"Those guys made the difference," Pinkstaff said.

The girls team finished fourth, meaning they won't head to state this year.

Freshmen Addison Halberg, Aimie Beutler and Alee Eason took the top three Scappoose spots, showing a positive sign for the team's future.

Of the 35 runners on the boys and girls teams, more than a third are seniors.

Pinkstaff said turnout this season was the highest it had been in the last decade or so, but the outgoing seniors will be hard to replace. The high school program does activities with the middle school team to help build a connection with future teammates, Pinkstaff said.

Large turnout among freshmen could be an asset in the next few years. Freshmen make up half of the girls team, with only one sophomore and one junior.

"Halberg has been really, really strong for us, and has just continued to get stronger over the course of this season," Pinkstaff said before the conference meet. Halberg is competitive "and you can see that out there on the course."

Beutler, No. 2 on the girls team and the 15th-place finisher at the NWOC meet, has also been an asset. Eason has had injuries that have limited her training and was taking it easy in the first half of October, Pinkstaff said, but she pulled out a 23rd-place finish at the conference meet.

"Especially those three being young, I see them doing good things for us in the future," Pinkstaff said.

Those three freshmen "fortify our girls team to make the complete lineup," while Dominguez and fellow senior Maizri Chandler have been leaders on the team, Pinkstaff said.

Though neither St. Helens team qualified for state, senior Hannah Hayduk will head to the competition after placing third overall in the NWOC meet.PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - St. Helens senior Hannah Hayduk, right, took third overall in the womens NWOC district meet, finishing more than five minutes before the next St. Helens runner.

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