By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
McNary didn’t accomplish everything it wanted at the Greater Valley Conference Championships this season but the future continues to look bright for the cross country program.
“The kids this year, seniors all the way down to freshmen, they competed really hard, they worked really hard and they pushed themselves all season long,” McNary coach David Holcomb said. “We’re excited with how young we are and how much we have to improve on for next year.”
McNary senior Kailey Doutt and freshman Ella Repp both ran their best times of the season on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at Bush’s Pasture Park but missed out of the top 10 and advancing to the state meet by finishing 12th and 13th in 19:39 and 19:46.
Doutt said she felt good for the first mile but her legs just wouldn’t allow her to keep up with the lead pack. North Salem senior Madison Willhoft placed 10th in 19:18.
“I was trying to be super confident and positive,” Doutt said. “I was telling myself to go but my legs didn’t feel very good. They haven’t felt very good this whole season.”
Repp, who was able to break 20 minutes for the first time, battled a side ache for the first mile.
“I grabbed on to my side to try stopping the pain and tried ignoring it,” Repp said. “I thought I was going to runner slower but I thought this has to go away, it just has to and it ended up going away. That shouldn’t be an excuse why I didn’t get top 10.”
Sprague junior Ginger Murnieks led from start to finish to easily win the varsity girls race in 18:04. South Salem junior Anna Chau took second in 18:23. Sprague put two more runners in the top five, Kaylee Mitchell and Elise Abbott, to edge Forest Grove for the team title.
The Lady Celts placed seventh.
Another McNary freshman, Nina Garland, beat her season best by nearly 40 seconds, finishing in 21:31. Sophomore Duyen Barr, who also had a PR of 23:14 and Alison Repp (23:56) completed the scoring.
The varsity boys race was much closer with Forest Grove sophomore Quincy Norman edging out McMinnville junior Zane Fodge by two seconds for first place.
McNary junior David Allen finished 21st in 17:40.
“I’ve just got to keep practicing,” Allen said after the race. “It’s obviously been working so far. I just to need to keep working hard and running more.”
Senior Jonas Honeyman (18:25) and freshman Tristan Proctor (18:29) both PR’d for the Celtics, who finished sixth as a team behind McMinnville, South Salem, Forest Grove, West Salem and North Salem. Freshman Ethan Whalen (18:39) and junior Francisco Orta (18:57) also scored for McNary as all seven varsity runners finished under 19 minutes for the first time this season.
Running in the junior varsity race, freshman Nathaniel Prout was also able to cross the finish line in under 19 minutes with a PR of 18:49, which gave Holcomb yet another reason to feel optimistic about next season.
“If we can get guys who have bought in this year to buy in more and come to summer workouts, if we can grow the girls numbers, the sky is the limit next year,” he said. “I think we’re just going to see times just continue to drop.”