Outlaws cross-country runners look to make impact
Last updated 9/14/2022 at Noon
A year after a second-place finish by the boys and eighth by the girls at the 4A State Championships, the Outlaws cross-country teams can’t wait to find out how they will fare after moving to the 3A level for the 2022 season.
The runners will get an idea after competing this Wednesday at the Silver Falls Oktoberfest Invitational which features a slew of 3A/2A/1A teams, and against a large field of 4A/3A/2A/1A squads at the Northwest Classic in Eugene Saturday.
The boys team may not feel like much has changed in level of competition, considering that state champion Siuslaw and fourth place trophy winner Valley Catholic also moved to the 3A ranks this year.
“Overall the level of competition for the boys has not changed that much,” said Head Coach Charlie Kanzig. “We are looking forward to the challenge, just like any other season.”
The boys are led by seniors Hayden Roth and Cole Jervis, who placed 17th and 18th respectively at state last year. Roth opened the season with a personal best at the IMC Preview Meet on August 29 in Redmond and appears ready to test himself against the best in 3A in the weeks ahead.
“Hayden put in at least 500 miles of running this summer and is hungry to race,” said Kanzig. “He placed fourth in the IMC preview and looked ready.”
Jervis, who according to Kanzig tends to gain speed as the season develops, gives the Outlaws a solid 1-2 punch.
Sophomore Spencer Tisdel, the top freshman on the varsity team last year, put in plenty of work over the summer as well and is noticeably improved, according to Kanzig.
“We will be counting on sophomores Spencer, John Berg, and George Roberts to fill in for what we lost to graduation,” said Kanzig. “Of course, we will have to wait and see how any of our freshmen and other newcomers develop.”
Ella Bartlett leads a girls team that, like last year, will be a work in progress as the season progresses. Bartlett placed second at District last year and finished 20th at State. She has high aspirations this year after a summer of good mileage and tremendous dedication to improvement, according to Kanzig.
“Ella understands that to be among the best you have to train like the best,” said Kanzig. “She has every reason to believe she can run with anyone in the 3A/2A/1A ranks when it matters most.”
Bartlett placed sixth at the IMC preview behind five Summit runners.
Seniors Delaney and Nevaeh McAfee, and sophomore Mae Roth return from the varsity team that surprised everyone last year with a berth at the state meet. Kanzig says he and his assistant coaches, Sarah Thorsett and Dennis Dempsey, have had to adopt a patient “wait and see” approach with the rest of the girls team, which is made up of a crew of first-year runners.
Sisters will compete in a special district that includes teams throughout Eastern Oregon when it comes to qualifying for State.
“Our district meet for state qualification will be in Pendleton, where we will see most of our competition for the very first time,” said Kanzig. “We are the westernmost team in the district, and our regular season meets are all either local or in the Willamette Valley for travel purposes. It is not feasible for us to drive by bus six hours to Enterprise, five hours to Vale, or even three hours to Burns just to get a look at those teams, so we’ll just have to do the best preparation we can and be ready for anybody.”