The first noteworthy cross country competition in Oregon for the 2005 season took place in Canby at the Molalla River St. Park. With the temperature about 80 degrees & a course that could be considered moderately challenging it was not a day to post a blistering time. In deed the course, which offers some moderate hills, uneven terrain & an area on the side of the hill where one leg has to run above the other, has witnessed only one girl (Marie Davis of Lincoln - 18:51) break 19 minutes & two guys (led by record holder Eric Logsdon of Canby 15:48) break 16:00 since the race’s inception in 1990.
Going into the race the tantalizing offering was the chance to see Jesuit’s Crusaders race for the first time. Both teams are currently ranked 15th in the nation with the boys 2nd in the Northwest & the girls 3rd in the region. Both teams had lost some key leaders so their initial race was of special interest. While the Crusaders dominated in all races there were some pleasant surprises as well.
The varsity girls offered an almost immediate surprise for after a brief dash at the start three runners were seen dueling for the lead & none were from Jesuit. The Crusaders’ Bailey Schutte had won the race the previous year but this would not be her day, as Charlotte Trowbridge from Franklin, Katie Evans of Canby & Danielle Hutchison of Evergreen (Wa.) pushed the pace. At the mile mark, which was reached in 5:58, Trowbridge & Evans held a slight lead over Hutchison, while a trailing group of Anna Imperati of Jesuit, Janelle Everetts of McKay & Adrienne McGuirk of Jesuit were about 5 meters behind.
The race for team honors had pretty much been decided at this point as Jesuit runners Katie Sullivan, Bailey Schutte & Samantha Sondag were not far removed from the leaders. In this manner they were continuing a tradition that regularly saw a Jesuit pack swarm ahead of other team’s key runners to ensure a victory. The individual race continued in this manner through the 3K mark but by the 4K mark the two leaders had opened a gap on their Evergreen challenger.
They raced beyond the view of the fans until a point about 300 meters from the finish & Trowbridge accelerated to open a clear lead over Canby’s Evans, who gamely held on to the finish. They would be the only runners to break 20 minutes this day. Jesuit’s Imperati, who ran a strong second half of the race, took 3rd place ahead of a tiring Hutchison. McKay’s Janelle Everetts, who was forced to run the bulk of the race essentially by herself, placed 5th followed by Jesuit’s McGuirk, Sullivan & Schutte. As expected Jesuit left no doubt about the team race, as they won by 51 points, while South Salem bested host Canby for 2nd.
The question at the start of the boys’ race was how Jesuit would replace their front-running leaders from the previous two seasons. While the Crusader girls had to replace Pat Laughlin, the boys had lost both Michael Maag & John Maletis, who had taken turns winning the race the previous two years. The answer at least for the moment is that they will be replaced by a solid pack, which today was led by sophomore Brian Manning.
Unlike the girls no one would jump out to a lead from the onset of the race. A fairly large group rolled by the mile mark in 4:58 yet, like the girls, it was not a Jesuit runner who pushed the pace. Franklin’s Matt Cravens & Bryce Coleman were at the front along with Sean Coleman & Josh Raines of Canby plus Ricky Mendez of McKay. With them & vying for the lead at times were Jesuit’s Manning, Matt Smith, Ed Niedermeyer & Rob Maletis. Well into the race Cravens & Mendez fought for the lead but they were not able to separate themselves from the pack. It was only at around the 3K mark that Canby’s Coleman & Franklin’s Craven established a lead over Burgess, who held a slight lead over the trailing pack. The leaders continued to push the pace & by the time they had reached 4K mark they had established a 10 yard lead over Burgess, who had distanced himself from everyone else.
From that point Cravens had confidence in his ability to finish & relentlessly forged a lead that grew to almost 20 seconds. He won with a time of 16:35. Canby’s Coleman held on to come in 2nd in 16:53 while Burgess closed a bit to finish 3rd in 16:58. Josh Raines of Canby was a distant 4th while Brian Manning led a wave of Crusaders not far behind. Ed Niedemeyer of Jesuit struggled due to the heat at the end & collapsed at the finish line but was OK after a time yet still placed well. The Jesuit pack placed runners 5- 6 - 8 - 9 - 13 & 15 and were able to defeat a game Canby 41 to 51, while Franklin was 3rd with 60 points. Both teams are young & going to improve as the season progresses, which ought to be interesting. The race was a bit of a coming-out party for Franklin’s Charlotte Trowbridge & Matt Cravens, who both scored their first individual victories. Both ran strong races, yet can be expected to improve as they gain confidence.
Shanon Fraser of Jesuit won the JV girls (3K) with a time of 12:18. Jesuit had the top 23 runners. Ian Davey of Jesuit won the JV boys (5K) with a time of 17:48, which should promote him to the varsity for the next meet. Jesuit had the first 13 finishers.
Canby coach Tom Milbrooke & his staff should be congratulated for a well run meet, which went off on schedule & produced speedy results. It was a bonus that he included a list of individual leaders from the past, which sported some memorable Oregon names, so that the runners could compare how they fared with notables from the past. It was a good start to a promising campaign.