Cross-country team opens season strong
Last updated 9/14/2021 at Noon
Clear air and a brisk morning helped propel the Sisters High School cross-country teams to a satisfying start to the 2021 competitive season. The Outlaws performed well at the Stayton Invitational held Saturday, September 11.
Facing all of the schools in the Oregon West Conference, along with a smattering of 3A and 2A schools as well as 5A South Albany, the Outlaws held their own as individuals and as a team.
A combined junior varsity 3,000-meter race of boys and girls started off the meet under blue skies and an Air Quality Index lower than the Outlaws had experienced in four weeks of training.
The junior varsity boys looked sharp as the top five scorers all placed with the first 15 finishers, led by the 2-3 finish of freshmen George Roberts and Spencer Tisdel who clocked 10:58 and 11:00 respectively. Colton Middlestetter (12:02), John Berg (12:12), and Eli Palanuck (12:33) completed the scoring for the team, which was edged 39-41 by South Albany.
“I think quite a number of the kids were surprised, in a good way, about how well they ran,” said Assistant Coach Sarah Thorsett.
Nevaeh McAfee, a junior in her first year of running cross-country, placed sixth in the girls race in 13:54 to lead the Outlaws to second place in the team standings behind Philomath. Kiara Martin (15:25), Dulce Dunham (15:30), Delaney McAfee (15:41), and Mae Roth (15:42) rounded out the scoring for Sisters.
The Outlaws entered just two girls in the 5,000-meter varsity race and both came through with personal records. Sophomore Ella Bartlett ran 20:50 on her way to a fifth-place finish and senior Sasha Stolasz came through a minute later to place 12th.
The race gave a sneak preview of the strength of the girls teams in the Oregon West Conference. Adele Beckstead, a freshman from Philomath pulled off an upset over Newport’s Aliya Larsen on her way to winning the race in 20:18.
“Overall, the league looks stronger on the girls’ side than it has in recent years as far as individuals go,” said head coach Charlie Kanzig, “and Philomath is deep and talented as a team.”
The Warriors claimed the team title with just 21 points, followed by Stayton (54) and Newport (71).
The boys placed third among nine complete teams behind the 10th-place finish of junior Hayden Roth, who crossed the line in 18:00.
Logan Parker of South Albany won the race in 16:32.
Completing the scoring for the Outlaws were Max Palanuk (18:27), Kaleb Briggs (18:32), Evan Eby (19:20), and Erik Ryan (19:55).
South Albany squeaked out the team win by three points over Philomath 46-49. The Outlaws scored 93, followed by Newport (106), Cottage Grove (107), Woodburn (153), Stayton (155), Jefferson (194), and Harrisburg (209).
“The kids have been training well despite the smoke and other challenges, so our potential for improvement is sky-high,” said Kanzig. “Overall our team is young and inexperienced, but we coaches are seeing sincere efforts to improve and a lot of heart, which are important ingredients to success.”
The Outlaws will face a much bigger field of runners at the Northwest Classic on Saturday, September 18 at Lane Community College. The meet is split in divisions by school size and Sisters will be competing in the 1A/2A/3A/4A division for the varsity races.