Silver Falls Oktoberfest InvitationalSilver, Falls State Park, 5.2K


Silver Falls State Park was home once again to an invitational that has been around for a good number of years and, when the varsity races began, falls was the operative term as, the rains let loose. After a week of racing in high temperatures in Oregon & Washington the rain & the cool weather that accompanied it the change was a bit of a bonus & certainly easier on the runners.

The varsity boys began the action and the runners from Southwest Christian & Philomath led they way as they almost immediately headed towards the hill known as the “monster”. From there the guys raced out of sight & would not be seen again until around the eight minute mark. At that point Jeff Schreiner-McGraw of Philomath, Ben Burns of SWC, Adam Siltala of Clatskanie, Aaron Nobiletti & Leonel Jines of Kennedy leading the way. About five yards further back the runners were already beginning to string out in the distance.

Once again the runners raced up the hill but this time they turned right once they reached the apex. It is not a fan-friendly course with most of the action taking place out of view but the “monster” does lend itself to strategy. As Schreiner-McGraw put it succintly ‘the hill is the race’ and once he crested the top he began the race in earnest. He raced down the hill and then headed back into view late in the race, where he hurdled the ditch that guards the finish area, that is just after the final turn & cruised to victory. His winning time of 20:10 is one of the better times on the course over the last few years but off of Sean Coleman’s time in 2006 of 19:46. The record, incidentally, is a bit under 18 minutes by Billy Harper but that was before stones were added to the trail for some reason. It was his second victory of the year: Cascade was the first.

Ben Bruns finished in a time of 20:42 to claim second as he edged Adam Siltala by a second. Leonel Jines earned fourth & Aaron Nobiletti placed fifth. Chris Stash of Sheridan came home sixth ahead of Daniel Webb of SWC. Silverton runners Daniel Webb & Morgan Coxen scored the next two places. Coxen is only a freshman & we can see him following in his older brother Cody’s, who won the race last fall, footsteps. In the team battle Philomath took the honors with 106 points & was followed by Southwest Christian with 121. Silverton garnered third only five points behind.

The girls’ race saw Annette Marinello of Philomath, McKayla Fricker of Canby & Morgan Anderson of Silverton assume the lead fairly early going up the hill. By the time that the runners were next seen Marinello held a good ten meter lead over Fricker, who was another five meters in front of Anderson. Like the boys the rest of the field was already fairly well spaced out along the trail.

Such is the “the monster” that, when Marinello raced up the hill, one fan remarked: “that girl ran all the way up the hill!” She raced alone the rest of the way building up her lead & leaving Fricker & Anderson to battle for second. The winning time was an impressive 23:17: one of the best times ever. Hayley Belli of Philomath established the record of 22:47 in 2006 and Marinello’s time was a full two minutes ahead of the second-place runner.

McKayla Fricker claimed second by holding off the final charge of Morgan Anderson. McKayla’s time, incidentally, was just off the winning time of Alli Brauer, who won last year’s edition. Olivia Anderson-Gregg of Philomath took fourth besting Bridget Donohue of Kennedy, while Canby runners Krissy Peterson & Elizabeth Hintz earned 6th & 8th. (The coach of the 7th place runner is still yet to post her time a day later, so sadly I can’t give her credit for her run). Rebecca Anna of SWC and Tiffany Davis of Canby rounded out the top ten. Like Schreiner-McGraw Marinello won the Cascade Invitational earlier.

Canby won the girls’ title with 41 points defeating second place Philomath by 29 points. Maggie Ruwitch of Canby placed 15th to make sure Canby would not be challenged. Kennedy finished a distant third.