By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
It’s difficult to overstate just how much the boys varsity cross country team accomplished at the Central Valley Conference district meet last week.
In a sport that garners more individual acclaim, the Celts took second in the league with the top finisher on the team claiming ninth place. It’s the first time since 1985 McNary has sent more than a few individuals on to the state meet. That was also the first year the school sent any women, two of them, to the state meet and the girls replicated that feat as well.
“We started fast and didn’t quit. Usually we start out with slower workouts early in the season and then build on them. This year we started out with tough runs,” said junior Tristan Briggs, who ran in the junior varsity meet taking 10th with a time of 19:38.
“From the beginning of the season, we knew this was something we wanted and, when it came to the district meet, we gave it our all,” added junior Adrian Fernandez, who took 15th in the varsity race with a time of 18:11.
It helped that most the Celtic boys and girls, 22 of 26, competing in the meet claimed personal records. For the girls, Courtney Repp took third in the district meet with a time of 20:16 and she’s hoping to get sub-20:00 at the state meet. For the boys, senior Tony Goemaere was the top finisher claiming ninth place with a personal best of 17:34, but his goal for the state meet is cracking 17:00.
“The boys drove me insane this season, but they came to race on the day of the meet. Tony and Evan [Rummerfield] started way out front and just had everyone chasing them,” said Rick Fordney, McNary head coach. “Courtney races really well and she’s relentless, she just couldn’t break South Salem’s Vivian Hawkinson.”
Repp said the race was her best 5K ever, but it helped to have inspiration from the boys.
“It was awesome to see what they did and then be able to have Laura [Donaldson] come to the state meet with me,” Repp said. It’s Repp’s second trip to the state meet in as many years.
Donaldson trailed Repp in fourth place at the meet with a time of 20:43.
“For me, the district meet was only the third 5K I’d ever finished, but I’ve managed to PR every time,” Donaldson said. “Having Courtney to pace off of during practices and meets was a real motivator.”
The key to the boys’ success was the team’s willingness to work as a team instead of individuals, said junior Dalton Lyndsey, who finished in 18th place with a time of 18:21.
“Our top guy was ninth. That’s basically a statement that we are more of a team than individuals,” he said.
While they set out with the intention of going as a team there were moments throughout the season when they had to persevere through the doubts of others and themselves, Tony Goemaere said.
“A lot of people doubted us and that we would be able to make it to state, even me. At some points, I started thinking, ‘Well, maybe I will make it as an individual,’ but we were all dedicated to each other and came through together,” he said.
Additional qualifiers for the state meet were: Rummerfield, a junior who took 10th with a time of 17:38; Taylor Russell, a junior who placed 27th with a time of 18:56; and Angel Goemaere, a freshman who took 31st with a time of 19:06.