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Isaac Cutler

Bandon's Isaac Cutler runs in the district meet at Lane Community College on Tuesday. Cutler finished second to lead the Tigers to the team title. 

Both Bandon’s boys and girls cross country teams have advanced to the state meet, the boys again as district champions.

Bandon easily won the team title at Lane Community College in the Class 2A-1A District 4 meet on Tuesday, with three of the top six runners and all five scoring runners in the top 12.

Bandon's Shannon Smith runs on the district course at Lane Community College. She finished seventh in the girls race. 

“I am very excited (for state),” said Bandon’s Isaac Cutler, who finished second behind champion Isaac Whitney of Oakridge. “Our younger kids have really picked it up.”

Cutler led the first two miles of the 5,000-meter race before Whitney passed him on the way to finishing in 16 minutes and 53 seconds. Cutler crossed the line in 17:03.

Fellow senior Aero Franklin was fifth in 17:47, with Charlie Ells sixth (18:00), Luke Brown eighth (18:15), Ansen Converse 12th (18:33), Hunter Angove 13th (18:42) and Patton Clark 17th (18:50).

“I think the team has a good chance,” said Franklin, who was third for much of the race Tuesday before being passed by two runners in the home stretch. “I think we’re all in a position to do really well.”

Cutler and Franklin both would have liked to finish stronger, but said the race next Saturday at Lane Community College is the big one.

“It’s districts,” Franklin said of Tuesday’s race. “It’s a stepping stone to state.”

Bandon coach Brent Hutton was impressed with Ells, who set a new best in the race.

As for Bandon’s top two boys, Hutton said, “I’m not really worried about them,” meaning he expects them to run well next week at state.

Bandon’s girls had three of the top nine finishers, but couldn’t quite keep up with Lakeview, which had three of the top four and edged the Tigers out for the district title 48 points to 54.

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“They did well,” Hutton said of the girls squad.

Holly Hutton was second in the race, with a new personal best of 20:01. Lakeview’s Ella Villagrana won in 19:52 and the Honkers also had the third and fourth finishers.

Bandon’s Shannon Smith was seventh (21:09), with Danielle McLain ninth (21:29), Aunika Miller 16th (22:19) and Hannah Wayne 42nd (25:12). Bandon’s other two runners, Hannah Blackard and Kylie Barker, both finished in 25:44 in 50th and 51st places.

For the girls, it’s the first trip to state as a team for the current group, though Hutton and Smith advanced as individuals last year.

“I’m pretty proud (of the team),” Smith said. “I’m glad I get to run with them at state.”

Holly Hutton said the girls are close both during practice and meets and during down time, including frequent breakfasts together.

“I like how our team bonds,” she said.

She is excited about the team’s potential in the state meet.

“We’ve had a lot of improvement from the runners behind us,” Hutton said.

Both she and Smith also were excited to have a chance to improve on their finishes in the district meet.

“I think I should have run faster,” Hutton said. “I wanted to get in the 19s.”

Bandon’s boys showed their depth by also dominating the JV race, with eight of the first 10 finishers, led by individual winner Trevor Angove (18:46) and runner-up Nathan Vineyard (18:47). Damian Avalos was third (19:01), Owen Brown fourth (19:10), Josh Minkler sixth (19:29), Andrew Robertson seventh (20:01), Daniel Cabrera eighth (20:19) and Orlando Avalos 10th (20:36).

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Sports Editor John Gunther can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 241, or by email at john.gunther@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jguntherworld.

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