Emily Weber wins Lebanon Invitational in first year with sport
By Bill Poehler •

September 25, 2008
WATERLOO - South Salem was going to be good this year, but no one could have seen this coming



South Salem's Emily Weber (front) took first and her teammate Courtney Hochstetler (left rear) took second Wednesday at the Lebanon Invitational.

Timothy j. gonzalezStatesman Journal | Timothy j. gonzalezStatesman Journal

Freshman Emily Weber, who had never run cross country before this season, showed the competition how fast she can be on a soggy Wednesday afternoon.

Weber won the Lebanon Invitational at Waterloo Park, covering the 5,000-meter course in 20:05, 30 seconds faster than runner-up teammate Courtney Hochstetler.

She's been involved in Salem Track Club and was actually coached by (former South Salem athlete) Becca Rhodes there in a variety of activities, so she's not unfamiliar with running. And with some persuasion by … Evelynn (Moz), Emily decided to give it a shot, South Salem co-head coach LisAnn Saxe said.

We talked to her about how much did you run this summer. Not a step. Not a step. This has been all new and fun and really cool. Everyone is on her side. All of the girls are supportive and excited.

The person most surprised by Weber's performance might be Weber.

Everything from leading a race to running in the rain with mud covering her legs is a new experience.

It was really unexpected, but I just try to do my best, Weber said. God helps me a lot and He just really encouraged me.

Hochstetler completed the course in 20:35, passing Sheldon's Coral McKibben in the final 400 meters to come home second.

I was just running my race, and I was really determined, Hochstetler said. I really wanted to run as a team. I really didn't want to let my team down.

I was just really excited that I was that close to (Weber). The girl that was running next to me (McKibben), we were encouraging each other and that was really nice.

South Salem won the team competition with 33 points. The girls team had three of the top seven runners, with Moz in seventh in 21:09, and six of the first 14 finishers.

Talented and they're working so hard, South Salem co-head coach Rob Wood said. They've really done a good job. We've both talked to them right off the bat, and it's just been really cool seeing how much they're becoming a unit and less of some individuals and packing up and running well together.

Second-place Sprague finished with 60 points, led by a fourth-place finish by senior Erica Nelson, who completed the course in 20:49, and a sixth-place result by junior Hannah Cohen.

The boys race also featured a lot of red and power blue.

South Salem senior Cody Hughes covered the same course in 16:46 to win the boys race.

Hughes took the lead in the first mile and set a torrid pace the rest of the way for the win.

The plan was for me to just race it, not really go for time wise, Hughes said. The way the course was today, all muddy, everybody was slipping and trying to dodge each other's feet.

I'm pretty happy with it. It's always fun to have people behind you like Kody Coxen running on your butt and the Sheldon kids, they're all really good. It was nice.

Coxen, a senior from Silverton, passed Sheldon's Matthew Melancon in the final 400 meters to place second. Hughes, however, was too far out for Coxen to challenge for the win.

Just keep the pressure on (Melancon), Coxen said. My goal was to get in range with him. I could tell that he would die off a little bit.

My goal was to hit the cement and be able to pick up a gear and get around him and get around him and hopefully hold him off for the finish.

Sheldon won the boys race with 49 points. South Salem placed second with 49 with Sprague in third with 96 and Silverton in fourth with 102.