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EUGENE — Heading into the state cross country meet, Bandon coach Brent Hutton talked about how much expectations have changed for incoming runners for the Tigers.

The program has been strong with top-three finishes at state in 2015, 2016 and 2017. In the past, Hutton had hoped his freshmen could break 20 minutes. Suddenly, several were breaking 19 minutes.

Aero Franklin competes in the state meet Saturday for Bandon. He was the second Tiger across the finish line in 22nd place. 

That gave Angove and the Tigers hope that they might be able to sneak back onto the podium this year despite having four new runners in the lineup on Saturday experiencing their first state meet.

The Tigers ran well, but not quite well enough to earn a trophy, finishing fifth in the Class 2A-1A meet, led by junior Isaac Cutler, who earned his first individual state cross country medal by finishing ninth.

“I can’t complain with their effort,” Hutton said. “They all ran really well. It was almost the best race for all of them.”

And with only Marino Santoro a senior among the group, the future remains bright.

“We talked about this being our goal,” Hutton said. “This race is as slow as we’re ever going to run on the state course.

“It’s all up from here.”

Cutler ran a conservative race on a day when Union senior Tim Stevens sped through the 5,000-meter course far ahead of the rest of the runners, finishing in 15 minutes and 33 seconds, the second best time among all the classifications Saturday.

Cutler was timed in 17:02, placing ninth.

“I’ve never pushed myself this hard,” Cutler said. “I’m happy.”

Cutler tried not to get caught up with the runners chasing Stevens, but wasn’t completely successful.

“I tried to go out with a conservative first mile, but was about eight seconds under the goal,” he said.

He was 13th after the first mile and moved up to ninth by the finish to cap a big season that included winning the district title a week earlier.

Bandon freshman Holly Hutton placed 19th in her first state meet. 

“I’m happy,” he said. “It’s podium.”

Fellow junior Aero Franklin was 22nd in 17:49, like Cutler his best showing in three state meets.

Cutler was 13th last year, finishing in 17:15, and 30th as a freshman in 17:46.

Franklin was 49th last year in 18:26 and 52nd as a freshman in 18:17.

Bandon’s newcomers had great races. Freshman Hunter Angove was 34th in 18:09, sophomore Luke Brown 50th in 18:46 and junior Nathan Vineyard 51st in 18:48 to round out Bandon’s five scoring runners. Senior Marino Santoro was 53rd in 18:51 after finishing 86th (19:31) in his first state meet last year. Freshman Charlie Ells was 69th in 19:24.

Hutton praised Santoro as a fabulous team leader for the younger runners in training and the races, saying he provided great leadership because he was so consistent and the other runners could work off him.

Stevens led Union to the team title with 44 points. St. Stephen’s Academy of Lake Oswego was second (101), Heppner third (102) and East Linn Christian fourth (105). Bandon finished with 129 points.

They did really good,” Hutton said, noting that Cutler, Angove and Vineyard all ran personal bests and Santoro was close.

Bandon's Shannon Smith runs next to Coquille's Allie Storts and Catlin Gabel's Alyssa Zhang during Saturday's state meet. Smith finished 24th,…

Bandon’s two girls at the state meet also ran well despite competing in the state environment for the first time.

Freshman Holly Hutton placed 19th in 20:38 and junior Shannon Smith, a first-year cross country runner, was 24th in 20:49.

“I feel like I ran good,” Holly Hutton said. “I had a sideache right when I started, but I pushed through.”

In girls cross country, Class 3A is included with Class 2A and 1A. Bandon finished fourth at the district meet, where the top three advanced to state.

Catlin Gabel won the Class 3A-2A-1A state title Saturday, followed by Enterprise. The top team from Bandon’s district, Lakeview, finished fifth.

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