Outlaws compete at state XC meet
Last updated 11/7/2023 at 12:35pm
The Sisters Outlaws boys and girls teams wrapped up the 2023 cross-country season at the OSAA State Championships at Lane Community College on Saturday, November 4, finishing fifth and seventh respectively.
Intermittent downpours of rain added an extra challenge to runners and fans alike, but the 60-degree temperatures kept conditions tolerable, according to Coach Charlie Kanzig.
"It was hard to see the runners across the course at times," he said.
Entering the meet both teams had hopes of a trophy finish (top four), but it was not meant to be.
The boys team missed out by just three points in the 3A race, finishing with 137 points to 134 for nemesis Siuslaw. As expected, Valley Catholic rolled to the team title with 63 points, followed by Oregon Episcopal (117), Enterprise (117), and Siuslaw.
"We did all we could, but couldn't pull off a strong enough last mile," said Kanzig. "As the scores indicate, second through fifth place were up for grabs."
Thomas Hamerly, a freshman, ran the best race of his young career to pace the Outlaws in 15th place in 17:28.
"Thomas ran an amazing race and I couldn't be happier for him," said Kanzig. "For a frosh to perform like that at the state meet was simply amazing."
Colton Middlestetter (17:37) came through next in 20th, and Spencer Tisdel crossed the line in 26th (17:49).
John Berg (18:21) and Will McDonnell (18:48) completed the scoring for Sisters while George Roberts (19:04) and Broderick Womack (20:54) finished sixth and seventh for the team.
"These guys spent a bit of time after the meet lamenting how tiny a margin of three points is between getting a trophy and not getting a trophy, but like in all sports sometimes things come down to the smallest things. We knew going in that scores would be tight."
Trevor Stewart outkicked Jett Leavitt of Enterprise to win the individual title. Stewart earned the crown in 16:18.9, just one second ahead of Leavitt.
With all seven Outlaw varsity runners returning, the narrow loss may serve as extra incentive for next season, according to Kanzig.
"I have every reason to believe these guys will be able to run with anyone next year," he said. "Another year of maturity and a summer of running, and they'll be ready to rocket."
For the girls it was farewell to senior Ella Bartlett, a leader on the team for the past three years. After a good start, Bartlett faded over the last half of the race and ended up in 25th place (20:51).
"Ella has had a great cross-country career, making it to State all four years," said Kanzig. "I am bummed for her to not meet her goal, but proud of how she has been such a cornerstone of this team for these years."
In the meantime sophomore Brooke Duey and freshman Josie Ryan moved up to finish thirteenth (20:31) and eighteenth (20:51) to lead the Outlaws.
"Brooke and Josie finished where we expected and I am sure they gained great confidence for the future in the process," said Kanzig. "Both of them showed a lot of strength and belief when it mattered."
Freshman Kolby McMahon finished as the fourth runner for the Outlaws, a little further back than anticipated in 57th place (22:16). Mae Roth (23:21), Naomi Bennette (23:27) and Kiara Martin (24:56) all had solid performances, according to Kanzig.
"Kolby, as a first-year runner, had a fantastic season and will only get stronger," Kanzig said. "Everyone always wishes they could go faster, but in the sloggy conditions times are less important than places."
Even so, Martin ran a personal best, while Roth ran over two minutes faster than last year and Bennette improved as well.
And despite things not going as well as hoped, the girls still finished within striking distance of a trophy in a very deep team race.
Oregon Episcopal, the heavy favorite to win the team title, did so with 66 points. Siuslaw placed second with 95 and then the next five places were only 31 points apart and four were from Special District 3 in which Sisters competes.
Heppner placed third (125) just ahead of Enterprise (128). Bandon placed fifth (144), Union sixth (156), and Sisters (156).
"Given that we beat both Heppner and Union at District a week earlier tells how tough our district is and how tight the competition has been," said Kanzig.
Jaya Simmons of Valley Catholic demolished the rest of the field in a time of 18:20.9. A total of 14 3A/2A/1A girls teams raced in the meet.