Siuslaw XC dominates new district


Boys perfect, girls run by new teams

Oct. 31, 2022 — Periodically, the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) reviews school enrollment numbers and adjusts which leagues schools compete in in hopes of maintaining competitive balance amongst the high schools competing in interscholastic athletic competitions around the state. Enrollment numbers were reviewed and, starting this year in all sports, Siuslaw was moved down from the 4A to the 3A classification.

On Thursday, Oct. 27, at Lane Community College in Eugene, the Viking cross country teams were the first Siuslaw teams to compete at a district competition since joining the 3A ranks (or, in the girls case, the 3A/2A/1A ranks).

It was not a very polite “hello” that Siuslaw gave their new friends in Special District 4.

The Viking boys scored a perfect team score with finishers 1-5 all being from Siuslaw to win the team title in dominating fashion.

The Viking girls also rolled with five of the top 10 female finishers from Siuslaw and all seven of their runners in the top 16.

Both SHS teams earned the right to compete in the OSAA State Cross Country Championships, next Saturday at the same location.

Perfect, sunny weather greeted the Siuslaw girls, who were the first Viking team to race at the district meet. The SHS girls left the starting line together in a group and stayed together most of the race.

In front of all the Vikings the whole race were two experienced runners, seniors Saniyah Ayala of St. Mary’s of Medford and Danielle McLain of Bandon. They were the only racers to finish before a Viking could cross the line. Ayala won the race in 19:44.48 and McLain was next with 19:49.16.

About a minute behind those two were the two Siuslaw runners who have led the Viking pack all season. Freshman Alison Hughes crossed the finish line third in 20:54.07. Right behind her, less than a second later, junior Corduroy Holbrook took the fourth spot in 20:54.84.

Out of eight races Siuslaw has competed in this year, Hughes has finished as the first Viking four times and Holbrook the other four times.

After the fifth and sixth place runners finished, another flurry of Viks crossed the finish. Sophomores Addison McNeill (21:18.16) and Maya Wells (21:19.13) were next at seventh and eighth followed by freshman Adylin Holbrook (21:32.8) in ninth.

Ninety runners finished the 3A/2A/1A girls race. All seven Vikings finished in the top 16.

Junior Jane Lacouture was 13th for Siuslaw in 21:51.42. Freshman Abigail Jones was 16th when she finished in 22:10.33.

The Lady Viks dominated the team standings with 28 points, some 39 points ahead of the second place team, Bandon, who earned 67 points. Pleasant Hill was third with 101.

Next the boys raced. A group of Viking runners moved to the front of the pack early. They never left.

Senior Kyle Hughes led the race from beginning to end to win the individual 3A District Championship when he finished the race in 16:56:43.

Junior Brayden Linton and senior Sam Ulrich stayed close the whole race, with Linton pulling slightly ahead near the end. Linton finished second in 17:06.83. Ulrich was third in 17:12.24.

The Vikings were not done yet. A few seconds later, senior Jacob Blankenship (17:49.67) took the fourth spot. Next was another Siuslaw runner, junior Dylan Jensen, fifth in 18:05.49.

The excitement was not over for Siuslaw, as two freshmen showed that as amazing as the present is for Siuslaw cross country, the future might be just as bright.

Both Camden Linton and Kale Jensen refused to back down and fought till the very end of the race. Linton passed Vedder Anderson of Pleasant Hill just a few feet before the finish to claim seventh in 18:29.40.

Less than a minute later, a similar scenario played out as K. Jensen pushed till the very last kick to pass Creswell’s Carson Williamson by just .29 seconds to claim 13th place.

With the first five runners crossing the finish line being Vikings, Siuslaw achieved a perfect team score of 15 points, 62 points ahead of the next closest team, St. Mary’s, who had 78.

Next, the Vikings move on to the state competition on Nov. 5, also at Lane Community College.

Though both the boys and girls team dominated their respective district competitions, Viking Coach Chris Johnson expects a much tougher challenge at the state meet.

The final OSAA Coaches Polls were released on Oct. 26.

The state’s cross country coaches have Siuslaw at the top of their poll but expect Valley Catholic, of Beaverton, to be the Vikings’ top challenger next weekend.

On the girls side, the coaches have the Vikings ranked third. The two teams ahead of Siuslaw figure to be their toughest competition at the state meet, eastern Oregon’s Enterprise/Joseph/Wallowa, who won the District 3 girls team title last Friday, and Oregon Episcopal School, of Portland, who won the Special District 1 title.

The 3A/2A/1A Girls State Championship race begins at 10 a.m. on Nov. 5. The 3A Boys State Championship race starts at 11:10 a.m. For tickets, go to  osaa.hometownticketing.com/embed/event/927?es=mh5vpn92lc929kkn2f6prl2l8u.

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