Pacific Conference Cross-Country Championships don't disappoint
In a great race there always has to be a winner and a loser, and on this day and in this undoubtedly great race, that winner was Newberg's Anthony Giesch who pulled away from Forest Grove's Jacob Friesen in the final meters of the Pacific Conference's Boys District Championships Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 26, at Joe Dancer Park in McMinnville.
"I don't even remember those last 100 meters," Giesch said. "I just had to dig into the ground and push."
And that was enough. For much of the race it was Giesch, Friesen, Giesch's brother Zach and McMinnville's Kellen Reed who led the pack, but over the last half mile it came down to the two standouts who pushed each other to the limit.
"Obviously, we were all pushing and he got me at the end," Friesen said. "But it was a great race and we definitely pushed each other. He just found another gear at the end."
Forest Grove head coach Adrian Shipley was impressed by Friesen—who's competing in cross-country for the first time this season—and his performance against Newberg's elite competitors but was by no means surprised by the senior's effort in what was another great race.
"He ran really well and raced like he has against top competition all season," Shipley said. "He put it all out there and laid it on the line, it just didn't work out in the end."
Anthony Giesch said the race went both as he thought it would, while at the same time surprising him to an extent. The senior said he was—respectfully—surprised by Reed's ability to hang with the lead group for as long as he did but was prepared by his coach for Friesen to push the pace in an effort to burn the Newberg runner(s) out. It nearly worked, but when push came to shove it was Giesch who had a little extra in the end.
"It was tough and, in some ways, not necessarily what I had visualized happening," Anthony Giesch said. "My coach said that Jacob would probably try to take it out of me at the end, and I felt it, but I just had to have the confidence and believe in myself, and I did."
There were no sour grapes from Friesen despite the defeat. He raced his race and in the end it wasn't his day, but he was gracious in defeat and had nothing but good things to say about the winner.
"Coach wanted me to just hang on to them and try and make a move towards the end of the race," Friesen said. "I kept trying to make a move and I just couldn't quite get past him. He's a great runner, so I think he definitely deserved to win today."
Shipley was equally gracious and thought his runner would benefit from what was the senior's stiffest test this season.
"They're really talented and we've been waiting to race them all season, so it was exciting to finally get that chance," the Forest Grove coach said. "It was nice for him to get pushed, so that was good for him and he'll be better for it."
Newberg won the team competition with 50 points, while Glencoe placed second (67), McMinnville third (81), Forest Grove fourth (84), Sherwood fifth (85), Century sixth (139) and Liberty seventh (165).
The Crimson Tide—who qualified for state as a team—were led by seniors Ben Mason, Trenton Abraham and Ethan Bothwell who placed fifth, seventh and 13th respectively, with sophomores Jared Klingler (20th) and Spencer Shaw (22nd) rounding out the scorers.
On the girls side, Sherwood ran away with the team title, placing four runners in the top-10 and five in the top-16.
The Bowmen were led by race winner Senoya Bugher who finished with a time of 19:27.9, nearly a minute ahead of second place finisher Anna Grunow, also from Sherwood.
Bugher was mostly satisfied with her race despite a time that wasn't entirely up to her standards.
"I felt it was really good," she said. "It was fun and the conditions were fine. The time was a little slower than last year, but nothing to worry about."
The sophomore tallied her fifth first place finish this season with her victory and has run as fast as 18:51.5, which she clocked at a league meet with Newberg and Liberty two weeks prior. She said she's happy with her season to this point, and with some experience on the course at next week's state meet at Lane Community College, is looking forward to the competition.
"I'm excited," she said. "I love the course and I've been running on it since youth, so I'm looking forward to it."
Sherwood's winning team (33 points) consisted of Bugher (1st), Grunow (2nd), junior Heidi Gill (5th), sophomore Mila Switzer (9th) and Jandika Borden (16th), with Margaret Pannell (17th) and Lily Fairman (18th) finishing just outside the point.
McMinnville was second (56), Glencoe and Newberg tied for third (85), Forest Grove was fifth (125), Liberty sixth (169), and Century seventh (176).
Glencoe girls Isabelle Pruss (10th), Averie Duyck (12th) and Adonia Weis (14th) qualified for state individually, as did Liberty's Mogan Boddy who placed seventh.
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