EDITORS NOTE: As a former college runner and High School XC Coach Drew keeps an eye on the Oregon area runners and gives his prediction for the 5A-6A State Meet. For the pulse of the Northwest and Around the Country check out the review from Leo.
Predicting the Podium 6a/5a
1st) Central Catholic 2nd) Sheldon 3rd) South Eugene 4th) Aloha
Last year Dave Frank and company made me look good when I called them over Jesuit for the upset. This year the Rams started off #1 in my pre-season rankings, and #1 is will they will stay. Led by senior Kyle Thompson (my favorite to win individually), the Rams will head into the state meet looking to defend their state title. The Rams are currently ranked 17th in the nation by Dyestat.
Sheldon, who always seemingly runs well at the state meet, has the ability to give Central Catholic all they can handle. After winning a loaded SWC conference title, the Irish will head into the weekend with loads of confidence.
The 3rd and 4th place trophies are up for grabs. I can see South Eugene, Aloha, Lincoln, Grant and Forest Grove all fighting for the final two podium spots. South Eugene started a bit late this year and I’m not sure we have seen them at their best yet. I think we will this weekend. Lincoln beat both Aloha and Jesuit to win the ever competitive Metro league title and if all five run well they should trophy. With that said I’m giving the nod to Aloha for fourth as they can survive an off-day more easily with strong 6-7 runners.
Kyle Thompson (Central Catholic) - The 2011 State Champ look to regain his crown after an impressive district race where he beat Ahmed Ibrahim by thirteen seconds.
Ahmed Ibrahim (Reynolds) - The Reynolds high school senior has only lost two races this year and those were to Kyle Thompson and Matthew Maton of Summit; arguably the two best runners in the state regardless of classification.
Reilly Bloomer (South Eugene)- Reilly has the fastest mark in 6a this fall with a time of 15:11. The junior will look to add to the Axemen legacy this Saturday.
Geremia Lizier-Zmudzinski (Forest Grove) - The Forest Grove senior might be the most dangerous runner in the field this weekend. If Zmudzinski is close to the lead when he hits the track it’s check mate, game over, give him the title.
1st) Sunset 2nd) St. Mary’s 3rd) South Eugene 4th) Jesuit
Like Central Catholic, Sunset has been my #1 all season long. I am sticking with them to win the blue trophy. To do so, they will need to top what are some absolutely stacked teams. The Metro league champions will have to beat St. Mary’s who has been nationally ranked throughout the year.
South Eugene with a healthy Sara Tsai will battle Grant and Jesuit for the 3rd and 4th place trophies.
Ella Donaghu (Grant) Ella Donaghu.. Ella Donaghu.... Ella Donaghu.........
Anything can happen at the state meet but miss Donaghu appears to just simply be in a class by herself.
5a Boys 1st) Summit 2nd) Mountain View 3rd) Hermiston 4th) Corvallis
The two Bend rivals appear to be the top two schools in 5a. Last week at the Special District 1 State Qualifier Summit edged Mountain View with a score of 25-40. Mountain View will look to take one last shot at their Bend counterparts and they will do so on the biggest state there is.
Hermiston has two flat-out-studs in Alejandro Cisneros and Jose Macias. A team that doesn’t seem to rest for any meet besides state cross country, will look for a big run from their freshman Hayden Scott who has shown big time talent this fall.
A number of teams could podium this fall. Cleveland seems like they have the most upside to work with and could be very dangerous this weekend if their studs from last fall replicate what they did just a year ago. Benson came out of nowhere mid-season. Marist has a very talented team led by JP Kiefer who should be top 10. In the end I’m going with Corvallis for fourth. They will probably have the smallest spread between #1- #5 and that is rarely a bad thing
Matthew Maton (Summit) *See Ella Donaghu
1st) Summit 2nd) Mountain View 3rd) Corvallis 4th) Your guess is as good as mine
I believe that Mountain View is the second best team in the state. Although if I were from Corvallis I might disagree. Either way, it is close. Summit scored 19 points at their league meet against Mountain View. With three girls under 19:00 for the season the Storm will win, yet, another state title.
Individual Favorites It appears to be a two horse race.
Hannah Gindlesperger (Summit) - With a 5a state leading mark of 17:37, the sophomore from Summit will look to move up two places from her 3rd place finish as freshman last fall.
Taryn Rawlings (Wilsonville) - *See Zmudzinski. The three time state champion on the track will look to add an XC title to her resume. When Rawlings hits the track don’t blink - because you might just miss her.