Distance Races at the XO

The boys' 3K saw Dylan Coleman of Summit jump out to an immediate lead. Rob Maletis of Jesuit followed in second ahead of a chase pack of 5 to 7 runners. Coleman passed the quarter-mile in 74.6 & proceeded to pick up the pace. The second quarter in 70.4 brought him to the 800M mark in a time of 2:24 with little change in the ranks trailing him. It remained that way in the next 800M, which saw quarters run in 73 & 71.7. Maletis continued to follow in close pursuit until they neared the 1600 meters, when Ken Scoggin swept into the lead. He reached the 1600M in 4:49 but did not hold the lead for long, as both Coleman & Maletis regained the lead shortly thereafter.

Scoggin then dropped back to 4th as Aaron Anderson of Lincoln moved into third place. The next lap saw some jockeying for position but at the 2K mark Coleman still held the lead with a 6:01. Scoggin moved up closer a bit later to be in a more favorable position overtaking Anderson & taking third ahead of him. Maletis remained close yet now in fourth. The pace was at an even 5 minute pace over the next 400 but Maletis used the time to move back into second. Anderson held 3rd ahead of Eric Lynch of South Eugene, who had moved just ahead of Scoggin, who remained in striking distance. 

Coleman seemed to be cruising during the next lap & under control but Scoggin moved up to take second position shortly before reaching the final turn. Just past the 200M mark the Caitlin Gable runner unleashed his kick & surged away to take a 3 second victory. His time of 9:01 was creditable given the conditions. Dylan Coleman tried vainly to hold second but Rob Maletis of Jesuit caught him at the tape. Lynch of South Eugene garnered third.

The girls' 3000M proceeded in much the same fashion, as Jennifer Macias of Hermiston took the lead almost from the start. She was followed by Clair Michel of Clackamas, the defending State champion at the distance as well as XC champ. Michel did not wait long to assert herself and assumed the lead after only 300 meters. She passed through the 400 in a time of 80.4 just ahead of Bailey Schutte of Jesuit while Macias ran in third place. Michel controlled the pace & reached the 800 in a time of 2:42 just a bit ahead of Schutte. Jen Macias was beginning to struggle & Anna Imperati of Jesuit moved ahead of her into 3rd. The wind was a pretty consistent 10-11 MPH but at times it seemed to gust to around 20 MPH, so the conditions were certainly less than ideal & had to be taking some sort of a toll.

The rain continued to fall as they ran but Michel did not seem to mind & turned in an 82 second quarter to lead at the 1200M with a time of 4:05. It was at about this time that Hayley Belli of Philomath moved into contention just behind the trailing Schutte. The Jesuit duo of Imperati & Katie Sullivan held the next two spots & West Linn's Taylor Nowlin moved up to run with Macias, who was struggling to remain in contention. By the 1600M mark the contenders had been reduced to just three runners. Michel led the way in 5:28 ahead of Belli, who had a slight lead over Schutte. It was a good 15 meters back to the next runners & it would take a major move for someone else to move back into contention. In the next 400 Michel & Belli gained a distinct advantage over Schutte, who was beginning to struggle to remain in contention. In the ensuing 400 the leaders forged a distinct lead, which left their Jesuit challenger in a sort of a no-man's-land with no one to run with either in front or behind. The battle was now down to just the lead two runners but it was Michel, who continued to lead through the 2K with a 6:53.
Into the final kilometer Belli became the dominant runner for the first time & she eased into the lead. The battle, however, was hardly over as Michel rose to the challenge & within the next 400M regained the lead. The wind continued to lash at the runners, who still somehow seemed to be running within themselves. With only 300 to go it was anyone's guess as to the outcome of the race, and yet still rolling along gallantly behind was the Crusader's Schutte, who was no longer losing ground. She seemed in fact to be gaining a bit, yet she was all alone with no one to aid her.

Belli made a move as they rounded the last turn & moved up close to the leader only to find that Michel had something left in reserve. The Philomath runner fought to stay with her but Michel slowly drew away to a 2 second victory in a time of 10:22.45. Schutte easily took 3rd with a 10:27. Hayley Ney of Caitlin Gable moved up to claim 4th with 10:35 while Jesuit's Sullivan was next with 10:37.

The boys' 1500 was an interesting race that saw two sophomores in the top four runners. Alex Ringe, one of the sophs, ran to a victory in a time of 4:06.3. Jeremy Liebman of Clackamas placed 2nd with 4:10.7 ahead of Brad Taylor of Oakridge & sophomore Brian Manning of Jesuit. Not to denigrate the efforts of the leaders but the story of that race were the on-going problems of Brad Taylor. The Oakridge senior is the two - time 2A State XC champion & was the winner of the XO Mile last year with a time of 4:23. He had been an excellent bet to win a spot in the prestigious Footlocker National XC championship until he was spiked in the Oregon - Washington Border Clash. The resulting injury required 8 stitches to close the wound, so his chances were much compromised in the Footlocker Regional. This year saw him miss the Lindgren 5K at the University of Washington & then suffer a stress fracture. He had not run for the previous nine days & anyone, who saw him limping badly after the race, had to know this was not the real Brad Taylor. We can only hope that he has the time to heal & return to full strength by the end of the season.

After last weekend's Sandy Invitational the girl's 1500 meter race was much anticipated. Sheryl Page of Sandy had led throughout the race & had built a sizable lead only to see Alyssa O'Connor of Summit breeze past her at the end. Her victory was also a state-leading best time for the season. From the crack of the gun it was obvious that Page was determined & she rushed away at the start. She blazed through the first 400M in 67.8.

With a beginning like that she could have been expected to fall back, as she raced into the teeth of the wind, and, although she slowed just a bit running a 70.5, she extended her lead considerably. Her time of a brisk 2:20.3 for the 800M gave her a 20 yard lead over her challenger, who led Jennifer Macias, Hayley Ney & Marsha Lampi. The Sandy streak rolled through another 400M in 79 to extend her lead to around 30 meters with the major change at the time seeing Lampi move into third place. In the remaining distance O'Connor began to surge & cut into the lead. Her kick closed the bulk of the lead & her time of 4:42.29 would have been the meet record but she could not overcome the gap that Page had assembled. The Sandy streak amazingly held on but ran a 4:39.72 to easily break Zoe Roy of Summit's record of 4:44.69. Page fell to the track in exhaustion at the end but recovered quickly. To run the time, that she had under the conditions, was impressive. Marsha Lampi of Lincoln placed 3rd with 4:50.24 while Casye Masterson of Sheldon earned fourth place.

The boys 3000 meter steeplechase posed an interesting situation for track fans. Central Catholic had the top two contenders in the race with Kenny Klotz & Taylor Morgan &, although they appeared to be the class of the field, it was difficult to figure which of the favorites should be expected to win the event. Morgan, although only a sophomore, was experienced in the steeple & is in fact the defending national junior champion at the event. He has been gearing, however, for the 800 Meters at State. Klotz, a senior, is the two-time defending XC champion, as well as the Oregon - Washington Border Clash winner. He also placed 4th in the Footlocker XC National event but this was his first time to race over the hurdles. How the race would play out was on the mind of numerous fans.

The start of the race confirmed the belief that the CC duo were the class of the race & they moved into the lead soon after the start. They led the remainder of the way & not only were they not challenged - they spent a fair amount of time lapping runners. So strong were they that few of the runners being lapped made any attempt to stay with them after being passed. It was Klotz, who controlled the race, and Morgan settled in comfortably about 5 yards behind him for the bulk of the run. There was little to choose from between the pair as they both effortlessly cleared the barriers. In spite of it being Klotz' first taste of the event he was fluid throughout the race. More to the point Morgan & Klotz were the only two runners who consistently hurdled the barriers instead of stepping over them.

Klotz maintained his 5 yard lead through the first six laps, which was reached in a time of 7:39. They continued in that manner with 8:58 being the elapsed time after 7 laps. Moving into the last 300 meters Klotz appeared to be in control yet Morgan moved up on him & began to look threatening. He made his big move after the water jump & caught him just prior to breaking the tape. After the race Morgan noted that the late drive was intentional, given his fear of his team mate's kick. He wanted to catch him so there would be no time for Klotz to respond. Not leaving a response time was a savvy move by a cagey veteran.

The girl's 2000 Meter Steeplechase saw Taylor Drouet of South Eugene triumph in a time of 8:07.97 defeating Erika Snawder of South Salem & Megan Everetts of McKay. Jesuit claimed the distance medley with a time of 13:05.31 defeating Southridge (13:12), Lincoln (13:18) & South Eugene (13:21). In the 800M Sheryl Page repeated her victory over O'Connor 2:14.1 to 2:16.71. In the boys' 800 Brian Karsten of Sandy & Jerhoemee Murray of Century were the only two capable of breaking the 2 minute barrier in the blustery conditions. Karsten won in a time of 1:59.2

In spite of the inclement conditions the meet was run in good order with little time to wait between the various events. Hats off to the officials, who worked through difficult conditions. My only request is to add distance relays of at least 4 by 800 meters & 4 by 1600 to make it more of an overall team championship, which is less based upon sprinting. It is also great to see the best runners from all divisions face each other in open competition instead of having to compare their separate efforts from different divisions.