Viks faster than field in Philomath

Viking coach Chris Johnson has led the Siuslaw cross country program since 1995. (photo Cameron Jagoe/Siuslaw Photos)

Siuslaw continues stellar XC season; boys first, girls second

Oct. 12, 2021 — Each week of this fall sports season, the debate over who the best cross country team in the 4A division is gets a little quieter. The answer becomes more and more obvious as the Siuslaw Vikings continue to excel at each race. That excellence continued Oct. 9 in Philomath at the Paul Mariman Cross Country Invitational.

The Viking boys finished first, by a large margin, over the team hosting the meet, Philomath. Though Marist squeaked by Siuslaw in the girls team standings, breakout performances by some of the younger Viking runners made for an exciting weekend for both teams.

The boys race was all Siuslaw.

Senior Chad Hughes ran away from the rest of the field to win his second straight race with a time of 16:32.50. Teammate Sam Ulrich, junior, who skipped last week’s race at Woahink Lake because of a minor injury, was less than four seconds behind Hughes and finished second at 16:36.40. Junior Kyle Hughes ran a great race and finished seventh with 17:04.20. Sophomores Dylan Jensen (12th, 17:32.80) and Talan Ross (13th, 17:34.50) were next followed by sophomore Braydon Linton (26th, 18:08.50) and junior Jacob Blankenship (32nd, 18:15.40).

“Great races from Chad to run away from a really good field,” said Siuslaw coach Chris Johnson. “Dylan and Talan really gave us some fire power to go with what has been a really strong and consistent top three.”

The Siuslaw boys finished with 35 team points. Home team Philomath was next with 91 points, followed by Cottage Grove (117) and Bandon (120).

The girls team was a close second in their race. They finished just behind league rival Marist and the two teams figure to battle for the league title at the Sky-Em League Championships on Oct. 28. The Spartans had 44 points and the Vikings had 65. Next was meet host Philomath with 85 then Bandon with 115.

Senior Rylee Colton (19:47.70) continued to be the leader for the Siuslaw girls team, finishing second in the race to Marist’s Jennifer Tsai (19:24.90). Freshmen Addison McNeill (8th, 20:36.00) and Maya Wells (20th, 21:33.10) and sophomore Jane Lacouture (21:10.30) were right behind Colton and had outstanding races.

“The girls had big breakthrough performances from Addison, Jane (Lacouture) and Maya,” Johnson said. “We still have some work to do but we are beginning to see that potential for this team.”

Freshman Macy McNeill (34th, 22:23.00) and sophomore Corduroy Holbrook (36th, 22:35.60) rounded out an outstanding team effort by the Vikings.

Siuslaw travels to Alderbrook Golf Course in Tillamook for a rare Friday race this week. The junior varsity girls race starts at 3 p.m., followed by JV boys at 3:45 p.m. Varsity girls race at 4:15 p.m. and boys at 5 p.m.