Bandon’s cross country runners are competing for spots at the state meet on Thursday during the district meet at Valley of the Rogue State Park.
Bandon’s boys are favorites in the Class 2A-1A race, likely to grab one of the two team berths for the state meet, which will be held Nov. 3 at Lane Community College in Eugene. But the girls appear to be in a tight team battle. Even though three teams will advance to state, the girls also include the Class 3A schools for the southwestern part of the state — Class 3A was pulled out as a separate classification for boys only this fall.
Led by Isaac Cutler and Aero Franklin, Bandon runners have five of the top 16 times for boys in the special district, making them favorites for the team title over Lakeview this week.
Bandon also comes in with momentum after six of the team’s top seven runners all posted personal bests in their final regular-season meet at the Country Fair Classic in Elmira last week. Cutler was timed in 17:03, Hunter Angove in 18:19, Luke Brown and Charlie Ells in 18:31, Marino Santoro in 18:46 and Nathan Vineyard in 19:11. Franklin’s best time of 17:27 came in the Prefontaine Memorial Run back in September.
Bandon’s girls appear to be headed to a close team race also including Class 3A St. Mary’s and Lakeview and Oak Hill.
“The girls race is going to be very tight,” Bandon coach Brent Hutton said. “I feel like it’s just going to be who has trained properly to be ready to race on race day.
“It seems like they all have about the same level of ability right now.”
Holly Hutton and Shannon Smith both have a chance to finish in the top five and clinch individual trips to the state meet, though they would have to run well.
Bandon’s other top runners have been Aunika Miller, Shelby Waterman and Alyssa Duenas.
At the Country Fair Classic, Hutton ran a new best 20:42 to finish 18th. Smith was 32nd (21:16), Miller 71st (23:32), Waterman 79th (23:50) and Duenas 80th (23:51).
The Tigers finished ninth in the team race with 227 points. The meet also include district foes Pleasant Hill (271), South Umpqua (286), Oak Hill (307) and Oakridge (330).
“The girls are in a very close race,” Brent Hutton said. “They were able to beat Oak Hill (and the others) at Country Fair last week, but that doesn’t always mean we can do it again.”
Bandon’s boys were eighth, led by Cutler, who was 22nd. Franklin was 62nd, Angove 74th, Brown 87th and Ells 88th.
There were 197 runners and 25 complete teams in the race.