EUGENE — Bandon’s cross country team went to the state cross country meet with aspirations of maybe two individual titles and a repeat team title for the Class 3A-2A-1A boys division.
Instead, the Tigers came home with a trio of near-misses. Sailor Hutton was second in the girls race. Her twin brother, Hunter, was third for the boys. And The Tigers were second in the team race.
For the most part, Bandon’s runners performed well, but came up against tough competition.
In the girls race, Sailor Hutton was with Catlin Gabel’s Maya Rayle just over two miles into the race when the course has a short hill and Rayle made a surge. Hutton couldn’t keep up over the final mile, but finished second for the third straight year.
Rayle finished the 5,000-meter course in 18 minutes and 33 seconds and Hutton finished in 18:53.
“I did pretty good,” Hutton said. “I’m kind of happy to finish off my career at the state meet running against some pretty talented girls.”
The top five finishers from last year’s meet all were competing Saturday. Rayle finished fourth in 2016 behind Oregon Episcopal’s Stephanie Finley, Hutton and Kaylin Cantu of Kennedy. This year, Cantu was third and Finley sixth. Rayle also had been fourth two years ago.
“I’ve had a breakout senior year,” she said.
In addition to her three runner-up finishes, Sailor Hutton also was state champion as a freshman.
“I’m pretty happy with my career,” she said.
Hunter Hutton and Josh Snyder had hoped to contend for the boys title, but Union’s Alex Graffunder took charge of the race from the start and ran out front the entire way. He finished in a time of 15:33 that was faster than everybody all day but the top four runners in a speedy Class 5A race.
Hunter was side-by-side with Union’s second runner, defending champion Tim Stevens, until the final mile and ultimately finished third in 16:10, a time that would have won the Class 4A title.
“I ran a hard race,” Hunter said. “I really wanted to get in the 15s. I was a little short. I can’t be disappointed with my finish. I gave it everything I had.”
Snyder was battling for fourth before stumbling at the 2-mile mark, which he said got into his head. He ended up seventh in 16:49.
“It was not what I wanted,” he said, quickly looking forward. “I’m excited for track now.”
As a team, Bandon couldn’t match Union, which had all five of its scoring runners in the top 25. But the Tigers did well enough to beat Lakeview by four points for second place.
Isaac Cutler finished 13th for the Tigers (17:15), Aero Franklin was 49th (18:26), Skyler Hammons 75th (19:15), Jared Duval 80th (19:25) and Marino Santoro 86th (19:31).
Cutler had a goal of finishing in the top 15.
“I am very happy,” he said. “Coach told me to go slow the first mile — I’ve been starting too fast — and I was able to finish strong.”
He had no bad feelings about losing to Union as a team.
“We went out there and gave it our all,” he said. “Union deserved it.”
Cutler, who is a sophomore, becomes the team leader for next year, when Bandon aims for a fourth straight year earning a trophy — the Tigers were third in 2015.
“The pressure is going to be on,” he said. “All I can do is train hard.”
Franklin also is a sophomore and Duval and Santoro are juniors. The Tigers also had a few freshmen on the junior varsity squad and a few top eighth graders.