Chris Johnson has coached seven girls cross country teams to state championships at Siuslaw High School. He thinks this year’s group might be better than any of those squads, and acknowledges the Vikings are likely to come up short Saturday at the state meet.
But Siuslaw’s girls and boys both are likely to be in the trophy hunt in the Class 4A state meet on Saturday, just like Bandon’s boys have a shot at the podium in the Class 2A-1A meet.
The meet begins at 10 a.m. with the Class 3A-2A-1A girls. That race will be followed, in succession, by Class 2A-1A boys at 10:35 a.m., Class 3A boys at 11:10 a.m., Class 4A girls at 11:45 a.m., Class 4A boys at 12:20 p.m., Class 5A girls at 1:45 p.m., Class 5A boys at 2:20 p.m., Class 6A girls at 2:55 p.m. and Class 6A boys at 3:30 p.m.
Admission, good for the entire day, is $8 for adults and $5 for students.
Though Johnson has had a lot of girls champion teams, including five straight, and coached multiple individual champions, he’s never had a collective group put up the times his team did at last week’s district championships, also at Lane.
Hannah Rannow is ranked fifth for the season, Brea Blankenship 16th, Rylee Colton 23rd, Chloe Madden 27th and Anne Wartnik 33rd. It’s not the rankings, but the times, with Rannow, Blankenship and Colton under 20 minutes and the other two just above 20 minutes.
But as good as Siuslaw is, Marist Catholic is even better, and the Spartans beat the Vikings in the district meet last week and are favorites Saturday, with their top five girls all under 20 minutes.
The Sky-Em League likely will dominate the race. The league was so good at the district meet that Cottage Grove’s Annah Nyburg ran 19 minutes flat, which ranks her eighth in Class 4A, and did not qualify for state because she was sixth, behind Marist Catholic’s McKenna Priske, Junction City’s Anika Thompson, Rannow, Marshfield’s Jazmin Chavez and Elmira’s Kaitlin Cook. Elmira’s Andrea Griffin, who placed 15th at last year’s state meet with a time of 20:21 last year and ran a personal best 19:23 last week, also did not qualify.
Marist Catholic also is ranked first for the Class 4A boys race, while Siuslaw has a shot at a top-four trophy.
That’s the goal for Bandon’s boys in the Class 2A-1A race as the Tigers look for a fourth straight trophy — they have taken third, first and second the past three years.
“I think third or fourth would be good, especially with the young people (on the team),” said Isaac Cutler, who won the district title last week and leads the group.
Cutler, fellow junior Aero Franklin and senior Marino Santoro are the only returners among Bandon’s seven runners on the varsity squad.
At the district meet, Franklin was sixth and Bandon had four straight finishers starting with freshman Hunter Angove at 19th, followed by sophomore Luke Brown in 20th, junior Nathan Vineyard in 21st and Santoro in 22nd. Freshman Charlie Ells was 31st.
“I think we’re ready,” Franklin said.
Bandon coach Brent Hutton agreed.
“There is a lot of room for improvement,” he said.
Bandon will have two girls in the Class 3A-2A-1A race, Holly Hutton and Shannon Smith, who were second and third at the district meet and have a shot at top-20 finishes Saturday.
“I’m really excited (about state),” Smith said.
Coquille freshman Allie Storts also will compete Saturday after overcoming a fall early in the district race to place fourth, despite running in pain nearly the entire race.
Brookings-Harbor’s boys are in the Class 3A boys meet in the first year Class 3A was pulled out as its own division for boys.
The Bruins, led by freshman Kaleb Carmesin, enter the meet ranked sixth.