XC boys repeat as District champs and girls place second
Last updated 10/31/2023 at 9:59am
For the second year in a row the Outlaws boys cross-country team made the 500-mile round trip to Pendleton Community Park for the Special District 3 Championships and came away with the team title, earning a return trip to the OSAA State Championships.
The Outlaws won in convincing fashion over Enterprise/Wallowa County as all five scorers placed in the top 16 among a field of 60 runners.
Sisters finished with 44 points, Enterprise finished second with 65, and Burns rounded out the top three with 72. Points are designated by finishing places, so the lower the points the better.
The Outlaws have qualified for State 12 of the past 13 years.
Colton Middlestetter had a breakout race finishing third overall with a huge personal best of 17:08. Spencer Tisdel was on his heels in fifth place (17:14) and freshman Thomas Hamerly cracked the top 10 in ninth place (17:29) with his finest race of the year.
John Berg closed in on Hamerly to finish eleventh in 17:32, and Will McDonnell sealed the team title in sixteenth (17:53).
Trevor Stewart of Vale won the race in a time of 16:05 to edge Jonah Lyman of Enterprise/Wallowa County by less than one second.
"We couldn't be sure how we matched up with all these Eastern Oregon teams because we hadn't seen any of them all year," said Coach Charlie Kanzig. "I really thought it would come down to just a few points, but our guys took care of business running as a pack like they have all season."
Broderick Womack (18:46) and George Roberts (19:06) finished twenty-fourth and twenty-sixth respectively as well.
Team Captain Spencer Tisdel said, "Our boys ran really well as a pack on Friday and we were able to move through the competition as a group, especially in the second and third miles. It was awesome to see everyone get personal or season bests and we are so excited to run together at the state meet on Saturday."
Kanzig underlined Tisdel's observations, adding, "These guys have been one of the best pack-running teams I have ever coached and they really trust and feed off of each other. I never know what order they will be in because they are so close."
How the team will fare at State depends on a number of factors, some of which are within the team's control and some that are not, according to Kanzig.
"If the boys are all healthy we can compete with any of the 3A schools," he said. "For example, Enterprise, which is a very good team, had their number-two runner struggle at District while we came through very well overall, but even if he had been at full strength we would have still won."
Contenders for a top-four trophy finish at state include Valley Catholic, defending champion Siuslaw, Oregon Episcopal, Enterprise, and Sisters.
"But there are always surprises and there are two or three other teams that could pop up onto the podium," said Kanzig.
The Outlaws girls cross-country team had a tougher situation as they found themselves in an epic team battle in the 3A/2A/1A Special District 3 Girls' Championships, but came through with a strong second-place finish to qualify for State for the fourth consecutive year and the 19th time since 2001.
Predictions prior to the meet called for the team title to be up for grabs, as four quality teams would be toeing the line in a field of eleven complete teams, including defending state champion Enterprise/Wallowa County and fourth-place Union.
The Outlaws scored 67 points to claim the runner-up spot behind the Bobcats of Union High School, which finished with 56. Enterprise placed third with 74, just one place ahead of Heppner with 75.
"To prove how tough our district is, Heppner earned one of the at-large berths to also compete at State," said coach Charlie Kanzig. "The top four teams in this district are all ranked in the top seven in the state."
Sisters placed three girls in the top 10, led by Ella Bartlett, who finished second in a personal best of 19:27.
Lily Nichols of Heppner led from start to finish and cruised to first place in 18:45.
Josie Ryan (19:55.3) and Brooke Duey (19:55.5) finished eighth and ninth respectively and Kolby McMahon placed 17th (20:49).
Mae Roth (22:27), Naomi Bennette (22:50), and Kiara Martin (24:57) all ran personal bests to help the team secure second place.
Bartlett felt satisfied with her performance and that of her team.
"I am super pleased that I finished second with a new personal record and our team got second as well," she said. "The bond among the girls has been strong and we have really pushed each other and been supportive of one another. I am proud that the hard work is really paying off."
"The girls knew how tough the competition would be for the top three spots for team qualification, and they rose to the occasion," said Kanzig. "I actually think they will run even better at State."
The competition will be even stiffer at Lane Community College on Saturday, November 4, according to Kanzig.
"There are some very deep, high-quality teams coming to the state meet this year beyond our district, including Oregon Episcopal, Valley Catholic, and Siuslaw," he said.
The girls will run at 10:35 a.m. at Lane Community College in Eugene as the second race of the day, followed by the boys at 11:10. All classifications converge at the same site for the State Championships. Tickets can be purchased online at the http://www.osaa.org website.