Fans at Lane Community College had almost balmy conditions on Saturday considering what they had to face in past years. Though cool the temperature was moderate enough that jackets were removed by mid-meet and the rain, which had threatened, was brief. The course was in fine condition and a few of the stars took advantage of it to record impressive times.
Hannah Gindlesperger of Summit certainly put her stamp on the overall meet by taking the lead up the hill at the side of the track. It was only about a half mile into the race but she made it clear she was intent on winning. To that point she continued to widen her lead, as a pack of about a dozen runners vied for second in her wake. Hannah had a good twenty meter lead by the next time she raced above the track but a chase pack had already emerged, which was led by her teammate Olivia Brooks. Included in that group were Rachel Khaw of Liberty, Emma Wren of Cleveland and Kaely Gordon of Summit.
There was no change through the 2K, which was along the road near the baseball diamond and Hannah soon began her trek around the pond before reaching the two mile mark in 11:23. Her lead was solid by then but what the other’s times were is uncertain, because the clock was turned off by the time Powell cruised into view.
Gindlesperger sped home in 17:55, which was the best by far for a female making her the true state champion in this state with far too many divisions for its small population. Olivia Brooks pulled away to control second: finishing with a time of 18:37, which gave her a ten second margin over Rachel Khaw. Kaely Gordon earned second with 18:54 with Emma Wren following just two seconds later. Sascha Bockius of Hood River took sixth with 19:00 and Taryn Rawlings of Wilsonville completed her prep harrier career in 19:04 to place seventh. With all four years managing to finish in the top ten it is quite an accomplishment. Taryn finished second as a freshman in 2010, tenth in 2011 and as sixth last fall for the record.
Olivia Stein of Wilson garnered eighth in 19:04 and Margaret Lauer of Franklin placed ninth clocking 19:05. Delany Clem of Pendleton finished tenth in 19:06 and Piper McDonald helped in Summit’s victory by coming in eleventh with 19:08. The Storm had been an overwhelming favorite & prevailed easily once again.
The girls’ 6A race proved an interesting affair but it was more due to the supporting cast. Given circumstances Ella Donaghu of Grant came in as the distinct favorite and she appeared to run conservatively with a rather clipped stride until late in the race. That said she led relatively early, although her sister Piper was the titular leader, when they went up the hill for the first time. Still by the 2K mark Ella had a sizable lead as no one seemed willing to challenge her. Running well behind was a less than tightly bunched pack that included Charlotte Corless of Sunset, Gracie Tostenson of Crater and Paige Rice of St. Mary’s Academy. A bit further back was Sara Tsai, who ran with her ram mate Phacelia Cramer. Tsai, who has had little competition due to a variety of issues was conserving strength back in about ninth at the time.
As Donaghu slowly took control of the race by opening up her stride as she glided around the pond. She negotiated the trail there with her only issue being when she slipped as she made the turn towards the track. Hannah actually grabbed the poll, which was on the corner but continued unscathed on her way to victory. Meanwhile things were happening behind Ella with Tostenson taking over an undisputed second place for the moment. Corless was five meters back with Paige Rice another ten behind her. Making her own move, creating it a race within a race, was a very focused Sarah Tsai, who now held fifth & was another five meters behind Rice.
The race continued to unfold in the next half mile or so and by the time they reached the soccer field again, the duel behind Donaghu continued to unfold. Ella had a solid 50 - 60 meter over Tostenson, who had established herself at least in terms of Charlotte Corless, who held third. The surprise, probably for many, was that Sara Tsai had moved into fourth and was moving up fast in spite of being fifty meters back. Holding sixth now was Jessa Perkinson of Roseburg, who had overtaken Rice shortly before reaching that point.
Donaghu cruised to victory in a time of 18:01 but the race for second heated up less than a half minute later as Tsai, who had long ago caught Corless, swept past Tostenson on the track and sped home in 18:25. Given her lack of base mileage, it was a very impressive effort as was that of Tostenson, who ran a gritty race as well and finished a second later. Charlotte Corless followed with a solid fourth place effort of 18:29 and Jessa Perkinson took fifth with 18:44. It was a most poignant point, when Paige Rice came off the final turn on the track looking spent. She glanced back over her shoulder to her right and shortly after that Piper Donaghu sped past on her left to claim sixth in 18:46. Paige looked a bit distraught but we can all understand having an off day. It was hardly a storybook finish but she did place seventh with 18:68 and it should be remembered that Paige placed fifth as a freshman and second as a junior and sandwiched between those is a glorious State title run. All in all her harrier career has been one to remember.
Nicole Griffiths of Sunset, who helped her team to a first place finish of 56 points, garnered eighth with 18:50. Erin Gregoire of Beaverton finished ninth with 18:51 to edge Gracie Todd of Sheldon, who shared the time. For Todd, who has not fully recovered from a bout of mononucleosis it was a fine effort. Kennedy Allen of David Douglas also was credited with that same time in placing eleventh. Alison Martinez of Aloha rounded out the top dozen and was the last runner to break nineteen minutes and Lacey Conner & Lucy O’Sullivan of St. Mary’s Academy contribute 13th & 14th place efforts to aid SMA to a second place finish if 71 points. South Eugene edged Jesuit for third by two points with its total of 99 points.