The best high school runners the state has to offer will converge at Lane Community College in Eugene on Saturday for the OSAA cross country championships.
The Roseburg girls, Sutherlin girls and Glide boys qualified their teams for their respective meets. Advancing individually were Roseburg’s Zachary Traul, South Umpqua’s Dale Wells and Oakland’s Wyatt Smith.
The meet schedule looks like this: Class 3A/2A/1A girls, 10 a.m.; 2A/1A boys, 10:35 a.m; 3A boys, 11:10 a.m.; 4A girls, 11:45 a.m.; 4A boys, 12:20 p.m.; 5A girls, 1:45 p.m.; 5A boys, 2:20 p.m.; 6A girls, 2:55 p.m.; 6A boys, 3:30 p.m.
Traul, a senior, qualified for his first state meet with a third-place finish in the Southwest Conference Championships. The first-team all-SWC runner owns a season best of 15 minutes, 39 seconds over 5,000 meters.
“Zach has run so well at Lane this year and I think this course suits him very well,” Roseburg coach Nathan Eckman said. “I wouldn’t be surprised by him having a very big day Saturday.”
Eckman noted the state meet course has been changed this year and is nearly identical to the Northwest Classic meet, with the addition of the runners going into the soccer bowl during the second lap.
Senior Aidan Palmer (15:03.4) and junior Charlie Robertson (15:04.4) of Franklin are the top two finishers from last year.
Sophomore Eliza Eckman (18:59.0), the daughter of the coach, will lead the Roseburg girls, who finished third at district and advanced to state for the first time since 2003. The first-team all-SWC selection placed fifth in the conference meet. She was Roseburg’s lone state runner last year, finishing 45th.
Eliza Eckman will be joined by seniors Samantha Eichman (20:14.9) and Sophia Tate (21:05.0), junior Miriam Childers (21:36.9), sophomore Trinity Minyard (21:57.3) and freshmen Charis Childers (20:19.0) and Corinne Childers (20:46.4).
“The girls are ranked 17th going into the meet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they improve upon that as they love to compete,” Nathan Eckman said. “Eliza and Trinity were both not feeling 100% at district and yet helped us qualify, and it will be nice to have them healthy.”
Class 3A Boys
Wells, a junior, earned a trip to state with a fourth-place finish in the Special District 4 meet. He has a season best of 17:36.3.
Class 2A/1A Boys
Glide advanced to state for the first time since 1999 with a runner-up finish in the SD4 meet.
Freshman Thomas Hatcher (17:43.0), who placed seventh at district, is the No. 1 runner for the Wildcats. Also running for Glide are juniors Brandon Byrd (18:13.0) and Eli Metz (18:52.5) and sophomores Dylan Davis (18:26.6), Nathan Masiel (18:42.8) and Caleb Thomas (18:27.0).
“I still don’t think this group knows what they’re capable of,” Glide coach Taylor Groth said. “Every time I’ve thrown down a challenge to them, they’ve always rose to the next goal. I don’t coach for ‘let’s happy to be here.’ Their success is running as a team and they’re ready to compete.”
Smith, a senior, qualified with a third-place finish at district. He has a season best of 17:22.0.
Class 3A/2A/1A Girls
Sutherlin is heading to state after finishing third at district.
Sophomores Madison Turner (22:18.8) and Ashley Radmer (22:34.2) were the Bulldogs’ top finishers in the SD4 meet. Also running for Sutherlin are senior Alexa Shaver (25:08.5) and freshmen Corrie Gohman (24:13.6), Kara Kloster (24:34.5), Jaden Ratledge (23:15.9) and Micah Wicks (22:59.8).
“I was super surprised (about the girls qualifying for state),” Sutherlin coach Kala Grotting said. “We were fifth (at district) last year and our goal this year was fourth, and to pull off third we were ecstatic.
“I’m proud of them. It’s a great group of girls, as far as pushing each other and their attitudes.”