In the past three years, Bandon’s boys cross country team has won a state title, finished second and finished third.
Coach Brent Hutton would be quite happy if the Tigers added that other possible trophy to the trophy case at this year’s state meet on Saturday at Lane Community College in Eugene.
“The podium, that’s what we’re shooting for,” Hutton said this week. “Even fourth place would be good for the guys, especially with their age.”
The Tigers boast just one senior in their varsity rotation, Marino Santoro, and have two freshmen.
The group captured the district title last week at Valley of the Rogue State Park, led by individual champion Isaac Cutler.
“I was very happy with districts,” said Cutler, who came in seeded second, but pulled away from the pack to win in 17 minutes and 4 seconds, 25 seconds faster than Trinity Lutheran’s Benjamin Griffin.
Fellow junior Aero Franklin finished sixth in 17:40, but the Tigers won the district title because of its other scoring runners. Freshman Hunter Angove was 19th (18:40), followed by sophomore Luke Brown (18:50), junior Nathan Vineyard (19:02) and Santoro (19:03). Bandon’s other runner, freshman Charlie Ells was 31st (19:32).
The younger runners give Cutler hope for the team to do well at state.
“I don’t think we’ve run to our full potential yet,” Cutler said.
The Tigers entered the district meet with momentum after the Country Fair Classic at Elmira the previous week.
“We all had a really good meet,” Cutler said. “Everyone improved a ton.”
Hutton thinks the Tigers can get a little better at state, which could give his team an advantage.
“Last year on the state course, in Class 3A-2A-1A, only 12 kids PRed,” he said. “That bodes well for us.
“There is a lot of room for improvement.”
Defending champion Union is the team favorite, but the Tigers hope to get a trophy and look to an even brighter future.
“We’ll all be able to grow together,” Franklin said.
Bandon’s girls will be represented at state by just two runners, sophomore Holly Hutton and Junior Shannon Smith, who finished second and third at the district meet.
Bandon’s girls team finished fourth at district, one place from getting to state. Lakeview won with 55 points. St. Mary’s had 71, Oak Hill 85 and the Tigers 113.
The top five individuals qualified for state, which is how Hutton and Smith qualified.
Pleasant Hill’s Maddy Woodward won the race in 20:04. Hutton was second in 20:34, just in front of Smith (20:35).
“I made sure I stuck with Holly and I went way faster,” Smith said. “I’m going to stick with Holly again and we are both going to run fast.”
Brent Hutton hopes the two first-year high school runners finish in the top 20, following up on their success at district last week.
“The race was very important for them,” he said.
Bandon’s other varsity runners at district were Alyssa Duenas, who was 41st (24:22), Shelby Waterman, who was 47th (24:41), Aunika Miller, who was 57th (25:34) and Hannah Wayne, who was 62nd (26:14).
The Tigers also had a strong showing in the junior varsity boys race, with winner Trevor Angove (20:00), runner-up Chase Barker (20:07) and fourth-place finisher Josh Minkler (20:42) leading the way. Bandon’s other runners in the race were Orlando Avalos (23:07), Ansen Converse (23:57), Andrew Robertson (24:26) and Nicholas Weaver (30:43).
Bandon also had four girls in the JV race: Hannah Blackard (28:43), Kayla LaPlante (32:08), Olwyn Reed (35:20) and Isabella Lopez-Churchill (35:28).
Saturday’s state meet starts with the girls race at 10 a.m., followed by the boys at 10:35. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for students and good for all day.