Jeret Gillingham wins district race
An eight-person jumble raced at the front of the pack through most of the 3.1-mile district course Wednesday on the Sandy High campus trails. Those watching from the side were unsure who would emerge from the pack, but Sandy senior Jeret Gillingham had a pretty good idea.
"We knew the stakes going in that there were eight people with a chance to win it — I expected it to be a great race," Gillingham said. "I planned to stay in the pack, but when I moved up into the led I felt good and told myself 'Let's make this my race.'"
The lead eight included a three from Central Catholic, three from Clackamas along with Sandy's Gillingham and Tyler Callaway. The pack remained tightly jumbled before heading into the forest loop for the final time.
Coming out of the shadows for the finishing 500 meters on the track Gillingham and Callaway were sitting 1-2 with Donovan DeWhitt of Clackamas on their heels. The rest of the group had faded back.
"I caught an inside track going up the hill into the woods and hit a surge that was mentally defeating to people," Gillingham said. "You hit the track, the adrenaline kicks in and nothing else matters."
Gillingham switched to another gear heading into the final turn on the track and built a sizable gap up front, crossing through the finish line in a course-record 16:09.24.
"I was seeing shadows and knew I had to keep pushing," Gillingham said. "There was not rest time over the whole 3.1 miles."
Callaway, who held the lead for a span in the middle mile, finished in third place with a time of 16:17.29 — both Sandy racers punching individual tickets to this weekend's state meet in Eugene.
"When I popped out front, I could feel that whole chase pack behind me. Everyone in that group is competitive," Callaway said. "We came into the race shooting to to 1-2 or 1-3, so we hit our goal."
With low numbers up front, Sandy was hopeful of gaining a team berth to state. That goal came clearer into focus when Tayler Kellim passed up a pair of runners on his finishing sprint. One of them was from Barlow — a school Sandy had targeted as its biggest threat in the race for state.
"This is my track, and that was my time to get them," Kellim said. "I tried to stay connected with that pack and beat some Barlow people along the way."
Sandy finished four points ahead of Barlow in the final tally, but Reynolds turned out to be the surprise team of the day. The Raiders got their No. 4 and 5 runners across ahead of Sandy to land third place and the final berth to state by six points.
Central Catholic won the boys team title with 45 points — two ahead of Clackamas.
Sandy also finished fourth in the girls race — 26 points behind Barlow in the battle for the final state spot. Souvanny Carpenter led the Pioneers in 14th place with a time of 21:29.52, while teammates Gillian Moore and Bridget Mudaliar turned in top 25 finishes.
Reynolds senior Kaitlyn Kruse won the race in 19:47.21.
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This story is slated for our Nov. 6, print edition.
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