Saxon Invitational Bush Pasture Park Salem, Or



The venerable Saxon Invitational was run on Saturday at Bush Pasture Park with temperatures rather pleasant, especially after the scorching temperatures of the previous weekend. Although the rain fell rather heavily at times even that was hardly detrimental to the runners, as the course remained fast.

Milwaukie senior Erin McLaughlin took off relatively early in the girls’ race &, although Hayley Gregoire of Beaverton & Kelly O’ Neill of Lakeridge gave chase early, the race was never really in question. For Erin it marked her second victory of the year as she also triumphed at Canby. Her winning time of 18:58, which although well off the 2005 time of 18:12 blazed by Sheryl Page, was an excellent one as evidenced by the fact that she is only the fifth girl this decade to break the 19 minute barrier. The others are Michelle Dettman (18:28 - 2007), Sarah Pearson (18:29 - 2003) & Jennifer Macias (18:41 - 2004).

Behind McLaughlin Gregoire ran a fine race, which saw her draw away from her young Lakeridge challenger in mid-race. She opened up a sizable gap before O’ Neill made a late charge in the final 800 meters after descending the hill.Although O’ Neill made a significant cut into the lead, Gregoire was able to hold on & register her second straight second-place finish in the meet. Her time of 19:19 would have been good enough to earn victory in a number of prior years. Behind O’ Neill was Meredith Wells of Crescent Valley, who led her team to victory with a time of 19:58. Courtney Hochstetler of South Salem took fifth.

In the team race my unofficial totals have Lakeridge finishing second behind CV with 97 points. Sandy was a distant third with 157 points.

The boys’ race in some ways was a duel between Beaverton’s fabulous frosh verses the depth of Lakeridge & Crescent Valley. The expectations were relatively high in the individual race for Ben Condrea of CV is the defending Mid-Valley District champion & Dylan Arana of Springfield had finished 8th in the State 5A race last year but freshman Kevin Kavanaugh of Beaverton blasted out from the start & was never challenged.

As the race progressed the rumor had been that the quarter- mile time had been brisk and that was probably true as Kavanaugh rolled through the mile in 4:55. He had already amassed a 15 meter lead by then & from that point onward the only questions were about his final time & who would place second. Behind Kevin Michael Shogren led Dylan Arana by five meters, as freshman Dan Oekerman of Beaverton raced conservatively behind them. He in turn was well ahead of a pack that had already disintegrated.

Kavanaugh zipped through the course continuing to extend his lead the rest of the way. One thing that was quite impressive, aside from the freshman, was the enthusiasm that coach Jim Crawford has brought to the program. As Kevin & his team -mates ran the course the team made an effort to create a “tunnel” of cheering supporters, which was a pleasure to see. Kevin, however, was well in control without support & his time of 15:55 gave hmi a large margin of victory. It might not challenge the decade best, if not the all-time record that Stuart Eagon of Beaverton set with 15:20 set in (the only time that I am aware that rivals that time was the 1992 time of Olympian Dan Browne, who edged Andrew Hunt 15:23 to 15:24. ) but it is a quality time. When you consider that Kavanaugh is only a freshman his race is most impressive.

Dan Oekerman ran an intelligent race himself, as he closed the gap on his rivals & moved into second place late in the race. His final time of 16:14 is an excellent freshman time & it saw him finish five seconds in front of Michael Shogren of West Albany. Dylan Arana claimed 4th a second further back & Kyle Ruhlin of Thurston claimed fifth. Ben Condrea took 7th in a time of 16:30, which was two seconds behind Andrew Landstrom of Portland Christian.

The 1-2 finish by the Beaverton freshmen was just enough to withstand the pack finishes of Lakeridge & Crescent Valley. Our unofficial total saw Beaverton win with 115 points. Lakeridge & CV followed closely behind with 122 & 125 points respectively.

We can look forward to seeing what the future brings this season that offers so much promise. Also of note for those, who missed it, was the run last weekend of former Crater star Kayleigh Tyerman, who placed 2nd in the Irvine Invite. The new Cal Poly San Luis Obispo raced 17:27 for the 5K course!