District races could be tight
PREP WATCH • Burgess, Kolberg aim for top spots in PIL 6A meet
By steve brandon and jesse severson
The Portland Tribune, Oct 19, 2007
Franklin senior Bryce Burgess and Lincoln junior Betsy Kolberg are the 6A favorites for Thursday's PIL district cross country meet at Grant. The meet starts at 3:15 p.m.
Burgess won last year and then finished third in the state. He's a threat to win it all this year, along with defending state champ Taylor Morgan of Central Catholic and a few dark horses.
Bryce has the whole package, including the speed to kick real hard, Franklin co-coach Jacob Michaels says. He's really gearing toward the Foot Locker regional (Dec. 1 at Walnut, Calif.) and qualifying for nationals (Dec. 8, San Diego).
Kolberg, a junior, has run 18:29.39 this year, comfortably better than Franklin junior Joy Shufeldt (19:23.4), Grant senior Kristen Delwiche (19:47) and Lincoln senior Iris Lerch (19:52.96).
Kolberg's mother was a standout distance runner for Cleveland, when her name was Linda Becker. Betsy's sister, freshman Gretchen, is one of Lincoln's top varsity runners, too. The girls are home-schooled but live in the Lincoln district.
Betsy is exciting to watch, Cardinal coach David Bailey says.
She reminds Bailey of Marsha Lampi, a freshman at Oregon State who won the district title for Lincoln her last three years.
She's very unassuming, like Marsha was. She just goes out and runs, Bailey says. We ran at Grant last week in the mud, and Betsy's time was faster than what Marsha ran there at district.
Kolberg benefits from running with and against the Lincoln boys in practice, Bailey says.
The boys push her, he says, but she can run with a lot of them. I tell her, 'Anytime you have a chance to beat one of them, do it.' Of course, I tell the boys, 'Don't let her beat you.'
• PIL 6A girls cross country will have a three-team battle between Lincoln, Grant and Franklin for the two spots at state, Nov. 3 at Lane Community College in Eugene.
Lincoln may have the edge, with basketball star Lerch and Bara Kloubova among those backing up Kolberg. Kloubova arrived this year as a cultural exchange student from the Czech Republic.
Senior-laden Wilson has its largest team in years and will have some girls in the district mix. Shannon Jensen's first-place run led the Trojans to a team title at the Champoeg Invitational.
On the boys side, Grant appears to be peaking at the right time, but Franklin has a solid team, too. Perennial power Lincoln is a bit short-handed and might not make it to state this year. Wilson, with senior Matt Hedges hoping to make state individually, has an outside shot at challenging Lincoln for third place in the five-team district meet.
• Last week, Burgess ran the state's fastest time of the season (15 minutes, 27.9 seconds for 5,000 meters) at the Adidas Classic at Fernhill Park, which featured 57 teams from three states. The mark was a Franklin record.
Syracuse flew Burgess back a couple of weeks ago for a recruiting visit. Oregon and Colorado State have showed some interest.
• Burgess is backed by four other seniors in the Franklin lineup -Kevin Smith, Jake Caplener, Nathaniel Kielholtz and Lucas Van Meter.
They've definitely gotten more serious about training this year, Michaels says. They really want to do well, and they've really bonded. They want to go out with a blaze of glory.
And Franklin has another Burgess in the mix -freshman Ian.
He's getting close to some of Bryce's times at that age, Michaels says. He ran a 17:41 5k; Bryce got down to 17:16. Ian has a high upside, too.
• Franklin's boys edged Grant for the second state berth last season. The Generals hope to leapfrog the Quakers this time.
Senior Nathan Knutson and sophomore Chris Edmonds are Grant's top runners; Knutson beat Burgess in one race this season, although Burgess was more in training mode and ran that day with a different strategy than the usual approach, which is to go out easy and finish hard.
Burgess tends to let the pace go out, and then he blows people away in the 0
The Generals showed their potential a couple of weeks ago at the Puma Invitational in Bend. They took third (and were the first Oregon team), beating North Medford, which is ranked third in the state behind No. 1 and defending champion Central Catholic and No. 2 Jesuit.
We're right where we want to be, Cotton says.
Seniors Preston Orr, Andrew Wong and Paul Balmer; junior Holden Rennaker; and sophomore Alberto Chapa give the Generals good depth.
• The Lincoln boys graduated three runners who finished in the top six at district last year, when the Cards won handily. Nathan Mathabane, who took fifth last year as a sophomore, chose not to run this season. Bjorn Kjellstrand, 11th as a sophomore, moved to Sweden with his family for a year of studies abroad. And Adrian Unkeles, seventh as a sophomore, competed for the first time Wednesday after being sidelined all season with an injury.
Lincoln's top two runners this year have been junior Isaac Dalke and senior Chris Wright.