By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

SALEM—McNary cross country coaches challenged junior David Allen to run hard at West Salem and see what happens.

The result was a 19-second personal record of 17:56 and top-six finish.

“I didn’t expect to go as fast as I just did,” Allen said after the race on Wednesday, Oct. 4. “I thought I was done but I somehow got a last kick in the end. It’s crazy. I tried to start off harder this week than the last race we did because I didn’t start hard enough so I had way too much energy at the end.”

The 5K was a breakthrough for Allen, who is in his first season running cross country and has gotten faster and faster in nearly every race since opening the season with an 18:34 at McMinnville.

“The lights came on,” McNary head coach David Holcomb said. “He ran as fast as he could and we want to see that next week and the week after.”

Allen wasn’t the only Celtic to PR. Ethan (18:37) and Brennan Whalen (19:06), Noah Egli (19:18.2), Samuel Hernandez (19:18.9) and Nathaniel Prout (19:55) all had best times in the varsity boys race.

Senior Jonas Honeyman crossed the finish line in 19:01.

“I think the kids are hungry,” Holcomb said. “They’ve been putting in a lot of time and a lot of work.”

McNary senior Kailey Doutt led the Lady Celts, finishing second in a season best 19:57. Doutt tried to run with South Salem junior Anna Chau, who won the race in 19:12, for as long as she could. That turned out to be about a mile.

“She took off but I just wanted to see how long I could stay with her because that’s where I need to be at districts, up there with the top runners,” Doutt said. “I was actually really happy with it (19:57) because it’s the fastest that I’ve run this year and there were a lot of hills. I didn’t think I was going to run my best time this season because of the hills but that gives me more confidence that I can run faster.”

McNary freshman Ella Repp wasn’t far behind Doutt, placing third with a PR of 20:07. However, Repp wasn’t as happy with her time.

“I wanted to get under 20. I thought I was going to run a better time than that,” Repp said. “I need to push myself at certain spots, I guess.”

The Lady Celts weren’t at full strength as Emma Garland missed the race with an injury and Reyna Terrazas was unable to finish, but were still able to tie South Salem for first with 35 points.

Freshman Nina Garland placed sixth in 23:04. Sabella Alfaro, a junior, took eighth in 23:17. Sophomore Duyen Barr was McNary’s fifth runner, crossing the finish line in 24:49.

McNary has one more dual race, Oct. 11 at West Albany, before the district meet at Bush Park on Oct. 25.

“As long as we get healthy bodies coming back, we think when we get to districts, as long as they got the heart for it and they want to race, anything can happen,” Holcomb said of his girls team. “Top five, top four would be amazing. It just comes down to heart and how bad we want it.”