Runners have strong start


Last updated 9/12/2023 at 10:47am

The Outlaws cross-country team had a strong showing in its first official competition of the season at the Stayton Invitational held Saturday, September 9.

Crystal-clear weather and a true cross-country course featuring hills, narrow forest paths, and creek crossings made the meet memorable for 400-plus runners taking part in the 28-team field. 

Sisters’ girls team finished in fourth place overall with 96 points, behind Philomath (33), ranked first among 4A teams, 5A North Eugene (86), and 6A McNary (90). 

Ella Bartlett placed sixth overall (21:05) over the 5,000- meter course that included a good deal of single track, which made it difficult to maneuver. Daisy Lalonde of East Linn Christian, last year’s 3A/2A/1A state champion, won the race handily in a time of 19:06. 

Also scoring for the Outlaws were Brooke Duey (22:27), Josie Ryan (22:29), Kolby McMahon (23:35), and Mae Roth (24:59). 

“Obviously the times are largely meaningless on a course like this with the single-track and three creek crossings, but the girls raced well and placed well, which is the name of the game in cross-country,” said Coach Charlie Kanzig.

The boys’ varsity race featured fifteen complete teams, so it was a horse race at the start as runners hoped to get good position before entering the forested trails. 

The top finisher for the Outlaws, Spencer Tisdel, tweaked his ankle in the first 100 meters of the race, but recovered enough to continue and fight his way through the crowd to finish 22nd among 112 runners, in 19:10.

Colton Middlestetter (19:36) and John Berg (19:38) came through next for Sisters, and Tyson Kemp, a two-sport fall athlete in his first-ever cross-country race, crossed the line in fourth place for the team in 20:02. George Roberts completed the scoring for Sisters, finishing in 20:43. 

Eli Palanuk (22:12) and Jack Turpen (23:23) completed the varsity team for Sisters. 

Sisters finished as the top 3A team ,in sixth place overall with 180 points. Sprague took the team title with 55 points, followed by McNary (83), Mountain View (86), North Eugene (115), and Philomath (149).

The junior varsity boys were not intimidated by the 5A and 6A runners in the 3,000-meter race as freshmen Thomas Hamerly (11:15)  and Will McDonnell (11:17) took third and fifth overall among 135 finishers. In fact, according to Kanzig, if the 5A and 6A runners were removed from the race, the Outlaws would have taken the top four spots, as freshman Broderick Womack ran 11:57 and first-year runner Emerson Backus, a junior, ran 12:03. 

“It was good competition for them and it looks pretty clear that some of these young men will help our time at the varsity level before long,” said Kanzig.

The team finished third among 12 complete teams, with 77 points, behind Sprague (37) and McNary (38). 

The Country Fair Classic hosted by Elmira High School is next up for the Outlaws on Thursday, September 14. The meet uses the property owned by the Oregon Country Fair, a longtime summer festival held outside Veneta every year.


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