Personal bests abound at Champs Invitational meet


Last updated 9/26/2023 at 10:34am

Photo by Charlie Kanzig

Ella Bartlett shows strong running form in Outlaws cross-country action.

With many of the best 3A/2A/1A cross-country teams toeing the line, the Champs Invite, held Friday, September 22, lived up to its name, and the flat course, coupled with top-ranked teams, resulted in season best times for most of the Outlaw runners. 

The junior varsity boys got things hopping with three runners finishing in the top 10 of the 3,000-meter race. George Roberts placed fifth (11:15), Emerson Backus eighth (11:36) and Eli Palanuk (11:45) ninth, among a field of 72 finishers. 

"It was good to see these guys really racing," said Coach Charlie Kanzig. 

The girls' varsity race included the top two 3A/2A/1A individuals, including defending state champion Daisy Lalond of East Linn Christian and Jaya Simmons of Valley Catholic, last year's third-place State placer. In addition, the teams from Valley Catholic, Siuslaw, Banks, Bandon, and Sisters are all ranked in the top six in the state. 

The Outlaws finished fifth as a team with 146 points, well behind Valley Catholic which won the title with 44 points, followed by Siuslaw (91), Banks (119), and Bandon (130), among 17 complete teams. 

Sisters was without number-two runner Brooke Duey, but the rest of the team did all they could to compete, according to Kanzig.

"We knew without Brooke our chances of finishing in the top three were remote, but the rest of the girls did their best without a doubt," he said. 

Ella Bartlett placed fifth (20:06), while Lalonde and Simmons battled it out up front with Lalonde prevailing by seven seconds to win in an impressive 18:09 over the 5,000-meter course. 

Josie Ryan established her personal best, finishing 11th in 21:04 and was honored as the top freshman finisher. Kolby McMahon (23:04) nipped Mae Roth (23:08) as the third and fourth scorers for the Outlaws and Kiara Martin (26:10) completed the scoring with her best time ever.

"Mae had a huge breakthrough for us," said Kanzig. "We talked before the race about taking risks to give herself a chance to run in the 23s, and she did it."

The boys' team also faced tough challenges in the team race against the top three 2022 state placers, Siuslaw, Valley Catholic, and Santiam Christian, but rose to the challenge.

Valley Catholic put four runners in the top ten to eclipse the rest of the field with 37 points. Siuslaw came through in second (54) and the Outlaws placed third (91) among 27 complete teams. 

Once again it was the packing of runners close to one another that put the Outlaws in front of most of the other teams. Freshman Will McDonnell outkicked teammate Spencer Tisdel as the pair placed 11th and 12th. McDonnell's time of 17:59.83 established a personal best and earned him a spot on the podium as the top freshman boy of the day. Tisdel's 18:00.03 was a season best. 

Colton Middlestetter rallied in the final mile to placed nineteenth (18:21), while Thomas Hamerly (18:29) and John Berg (18:52) finished twenty-fourth and thirty-fourth among a big field of 197 finishers. Jack Turpen (21:32) and Broderick Womack (22:56) completed the varsity team for the Outlaws. 

"We are coming together and are about where I hoped we would be at this point," said Kanzig. "I believe we will continue to improve fairly substantially as we get into October and will get ever closer to the teams that beat us this time." 

The Outlaws are scheduled to compete at Nike Portland on Saturday, October 30 at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City.


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