EUGENE — In the most recent Class 2A-1A boys cross country coaches poll, Bandon was fourth, behind St. Stephen’s Academy, East Linn Christian and traditional powerhouse Union.
The Tigers hope to finish better than their ranking in the state meet on Nov. 9 and showed off their strength Tuesday in the district meet at Lane Community College, the site of the upcoming state meet.
Bandon's Holly Hutton ran to a second-place finish in the district meet at Lane Community College on Tuesday.
Bandon easily won the team title in the District 4 meet, placing six runners in the top 13.
“It was a pretty good day,” said Isaac Cutler, one of the Tigers’ two senior leaders and the runner-up in Tuesday’s race. “Our younger kids have really picked it up.”
Cutler was thrilled with his teammates Tuesday, though not so much himself. He led the first two miles of the race before being passed by Isaac Whitney of Oakridge. By the end of the 5,000-meter race, Whitney had finished in 16 minutes and 53 seconds and Cutler in 17:03.
“I’m a little disappointed,” he said, though he quickly pointed out that state is the more important race.
And last year, Cutler beat Whitney at the district meet and their order was reversed at state, so he hopes their order is reversed again this year.
As for the rest of the Tigers, Aero Franklin, the team’s other senior leader, was fifth (17:47), Charlie Ells sixth (personal best 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 we’re all in a position to do really well (at state),” Franklin said. “We’ve all put in the miles. We’ve all put in the work. We’ve been taking big leaps together.”
The top five finishers for each team count toward the team score and the top two teams in the boys race advanced to state.
There was no doubt who the two team qualifiers would be in the boys race. Glide, a team with no seniors coached by former South Umpqua coach Taylor Groth, had all of its five scoring runners in the top 14, led by top-10 finishers Thomas Hatcher (seventh), Brandon Byrd (ninth) and Dylan Davis (10th). Bandon had 28 points and Glide 46.
The top five individuals also qualified for state, meaning Whitney, Oakland’s Wyatt Smith (third) and Jack Ellis of Trinity Lutheran (fourth) also will compete at the state meet.
Myrtle Point’s Aidan Lilienthal was 22nd (19:17), Coquille’s Garrett Baird 24th (19:19), Pacific’s Hunter Jordan 25th (19:21) and David Pedrick of Powers 36th (20:51).
Bandon’s girls also qualified for state, as team runners-up to Lakeview.
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Lakeview’s Ella Villagrana won the title in 19:52, followed by Bandon’s Holly Hutton (20:01).
It was a new personal best for Hutton, but she wasn’t thrilled.
“I think I should have run faster,” she said. “I wanted to get in the 19s. I was close.”
Lakeview also had the third- and fourth-place finishers in Julia Ketcham and Kaley Schneider. Katherine Abbott of Oakridge earned an individual berth to state by finishing fifth.
Bandon’s Shannon Smith was seventh (21:09) and Danielle McLain ninth (21:19). Aunika Miller was 16th (22:19) and the Tigers’ fifth runner was Hannah Wayne in 42nd (25:12).
Lakeview finished with 48 points and Bandon 54.
The Bandon girls are excited about the state meet.
“We’ve had a lot of improvement from the runners behind us,” Hutton said.
“I’m glad I get to run with them at state,” added Smith.
Since the girls district also included Class 3A, three state team berths were up for grabs. Sutherlin edged St. Mary’s 83-85 for the third spot at state.
Coquille’s Allison Storts had a 10th-place finish (21:45), while Myrtle Point was led by Sarah Nicholson in 15th (22:05). Reedsport’s Ashley Schuttpelz was 33rd (24:06) after being ill for almost two weeks leading up to the district meet.
For the boys, Class 3A has its own division, and its district meet also was Tuesday.
Brookings-Harbor took the title, led by individual champion Kaleb Barnes, who finished in 17:08. Zachary Ablitt was sixth (18:32) and Everest Abblitt 10th (18:48) for the Bruins.
The Bruins finished with 46 points. Creswell (60) edged Cascade Christian (62) and St. Mary’s (66) for the other team berth.
The meet was the first of three involving South Coast teams in three days in the Eugene area. North Bend competes in the Midwestern League district meet Wednesday at Springfield High School and Marshfield and Siuslaw compete in the Sky-Em League district meet at Lane Community College on Thursday.