Bryant Park, Albany, Oregon
It was just a short drive from the Eugene-Springfield area, where we watched two-time Footlocker National champion Jordan Hasay plus Taylor Wallace run their first collegiate cross country races the day before but a look at the girl’s leader in the Harrier Classic reminded one of the previous day’s collegians. Allison Clark of Columbia River powered her way to a victory in a rather stunning time of 17:37. The course is listed as a 5K but even, if the course was a bit short, her run was most impressive.
Bryant Park lies along the Willamette River & is pretty much flat. The course was firm & the weather almost optimal for running. It is our understanding that the course was run slightly differently this year than in the past but it was over essentially the same terrain. The greatest handicap that the course presented was the necessity of getting out quickly, for there was less than 100 meters before the course narrowed considerably & made a right-handed turn at the same time. Kellie Schueler of Summit used her great sprinting speed early to jet into second place prior to the turn and Allison Clark was on the far outside not too far behind her. Both of those runners were able to navigate the turn relatively easily, which was not the case for Erin McLaughlin of Milwaukie. The three-time 2009 invitational winner (Canby, South Salem & the Northwest Classic) was mired in the middle of the field and, when she reached the turn, she was inundated in a sea of flailing arms & bodies vying for position.
By the time that the runners had returned to view and raced toward the river Clark already had built a solid lead of at least 70 meters & was followed by her team mate Sarah Bobbe, who had a good twenty meter lead over the chase-pack that included Megan Fristoe & Kellie Schueler of Summit, Kristin Coffman of Tualatin and Erin McLaughlin, who almost surprisingly had to have threaded her way through the crowd just to be in that position. Behind her were Alexandria Cross of Tualatin & Mimi Seeley of Bend.
Another circuit of the course saw Allison extend her lead to 40 seconds over McLaughlin, who was now battling for second place with Coffman, while Bobbe remained close behind the pair. A bit further back were Megan Fristoe, Alexandra Cross & Kellie Schueler. The thing that really still stands out in the mind was the form of Stark, who was in first place. She looked so fluid, yet even that was deceiving, for a quick glance at the turn-over of her legs made it clear that she really was motoring. One can argue about the length of the course but she was clearly running one very impressive race. There was little doubt, when you saw her that she was racing under the 18 minute barrier & ought to be considering an attempt at high school cross country’s nirvana of Footlocker. Her time of 17:37 was, as noted stunning. Keep in mind that Kayleigh Tyerman, who is now running so impressively for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as a freshman, ‘only’ ran 18:20 last fall.
Erin McLaughlin placed second in a fine time of 18:10. Given her early predicament one wonders, what she might have run, although she would have still placed second. Still she ran a very credible race & must have exerted a good deal of energy just to catch up with the chase pack. Kristin Coffman of Tualatin earned third two seconds behind Erin & Sarah Bobbe was a second further back in 4th. Kellie Scheuler ran a very solid 18:19 to take 5th ahead of her team mate Megan Fristoe, who Kellie noted had been a bit under the weather the past few days. Alexandra Cross came home 7th in front of Mimi Seeley of Bend, while Emily Wheeler of Tualatin had an uncharacteristic off-day, as she finished 9th. Holly Meler of Columbia River took 10th ahead of Mia O’ Dougherty of Ashland & Ashley Baldovino of Lakeview.
The Summit girls won the team battle by a 60 to 78 margin over Tualatin. Kira Kelly placed 14th for Summit and was followed by Sarah Fristoe (17) & Eirann Cohen (18). Mackenzie Nafzinger placed 21st in a time of 19:32. The Columbia River girls took third ahead of Crescent Valley.
The guys’ was began with a literal bang, as the runners reached the first turn pretty much en masse. The tight corner forced many runners to defend their positions with the hands & arms and a fair number of runners fell. One boy went down and was spiked numerous times by other runners, who were so tightly packed that they were unable to hurtle him. One of the spikes unfortunately went to his head.
The leaders then raced out of spectator view but for those, who managed to pass the turn unscathed, the pace was hot. Wilder Schaaf led the way with a time that was well under five minutes at the mile &, when he returned to view, he held a five meter lead over Dylan Arana of Springfield, who in turn had a twenty meter lead over a pack that included Kyle Boe of Columbia River, Ben Condrea of Crescent Valley, Nick Robbins of Forest Grove, Paul Schwarzer of Ashland & Pat Madden of Summit. Central Catholic runners Curran Carlile & Musa Ahmed were also in the mix but running as a duo.
Schaaf of Ashland continued to push the pace and appeared to be a completely different runner than he had been the previous weekend, when he placed fifth at the Northwest Classic. During the next loop of the course he opened a gap over Arana and appeared to be on his way to a victory but Kyle Boe was just beginning to make his move. Boe, who had earlier won the Clark County Jamboree & the Run-A-Ree in Washington drew away from the chase-pack & then overtook Arana for second. In the next mile he gradually bridged the gap that Schaaf had established and with about 300 meters to he caught the leader as the ran along the side of the River.
They ran together until they made the final turn for home but Boe put in a surge as he headed down the final straight & won convincingly with a time 15:22. That time was five seconds better than the winning time of Crater’s Zach Elliott, who won last year. Schaaf finished second in a time of 15:27 & Dylan Arana raced home alone with a time of 15:42 to claim third. Ben Condrea ran his PR as he finished 4th in a time of 15:50, as he edged Nick Robbins. Andy Bennison of Central Catholic took 6th ahead of Paul Schwarzer and Pat Madden earned 8th. Central Catholic runners Curran Carlile & Musa Ahmed rounded out the top ten & Columbia River’s Brian Piette was 11th. Central Catholic salted away the team race, as Everett Stilley & Wasil Ahmed backed up the team effort by taking 12th & 13th respectively. Central Catholic with 45 points easily won over Ashland and Columbia River.
This kid was spiked pretty bad but was ok.