Getting the opportunity to compete again during this coronavirus pandemic year was the highlight for the Umpqua Community College runners in their dual cross country meet with Southwestern Oregon of Coos Bay on Saturday at UCC.
The Riverhawks saw their 2020 fall season get moved back due to the pandemic, so this marked UCC’s first cross country meet in nearly 15 months.
“This meet meant a lot to me,” said UCC sophomore Konrad Raum, who won the men’s race. “To be able to compete again felt so good. I was so happy to have competition.”
“It was really fun. It was nice to be in a human environment again and running with teammates,” added UCC freshman Samantha Eichman, who finished first among the women. “It was really good to run with everyone and cheer on your teammates.”
Both distances were 5,000 meters on a cool, wet day.
The UCC men defeated the Lakers, finishing with a score of 23 points. The UCC women scored 15 as SWOCC didn’t field a complete team of five runners.
“It went well,” Umpqua third-year head coach Alan King said. “It was a relief (having a meet) ... nerves were pretty high because we haven’t had a competition in so long.
“It’s a super tough course and it’s been modified a little bit. It’s a true cross country course, European style at its finest. Definitely soggy, but having bark on all the trails helps a ton.”
Raum, from Cottage Grove, picked up an easy victory with a time of 18 minutes, 36 seconds. He will run for NCAA Division II Colorado State University-Pueblo next year.
“Time wasn’t a big issue today. I wasn’t trying to go for a fast time, but I PR’d two minutes from last year,” Raum said. “It’s a very hard course. It was muddy and wet, and I fell during one part of the race. I was trying to go under 18 minutes, but I’m content with what I got.”
King believes Raum is primed for a big season.
“Konrad has put the work in,” the coach said. “He’s ready to run fast.”
“I’m feeling good (condition-wise),” Raum said. “I feel confident in my training.”
Raum was followed to the finish line by teammates Tristan Wood (second, 19:15) and Tyler Lindsey (third, 19:44). Wood is a sophomore from Roseburg and Lindsey is a sophomore out of Camas Valley.
Jaime Mejia-German, who isn’t on UCC’s roster this season, ran unattached and finished fourth (19:51).
“Dexter Patching (ninth, 20:26) really impressed me and came on strong,” King said. “Noah Retherford (10th, 21:47) came here as an obstacle course racing guy and was our fifth runner today.”
Eichman, a Roseburg High School graduate, was ready to run after losing her senior track season because of the pandemic. She dominated Saturday’s race, clocking 24:57.
“I was just really excited to get out and run and see where I’m at,” Eichman said. “It’s mostly an uphill course and definitely a challenge. I’m pretty happy with the time, it was faster than I expected.”
“Samantha looked very strong,” King said. “We’re excited to have her running for us.”
UCC’s Kristen Thomas, a freshman from Blackfoot, Idaho, was second (27:13). Genessa Eldredge, a freshman out of Sandy, Utah, finished third (29:37).
Jasmine Lake, the team’s No. 1 runner last year, didn’t return this season.
The Riverhawks are scheduled to host SWOCC and Chemeketa on Feb. 20 at Roseburg’s Stewart Park. The women’s 5K will start at noon, followed by the men’s 8K at 1 p.m.
TEAM SCORES — Umpqua 23, Southwestern Oregon 33.
INDIVIDUALS — 1. Konrad Raum, UCC, 18:36; 2. Tristan Wood, UCC, 19:15; 3. Tyler Lindsey, UCC, 19:44; 4. Jaime Mejia-German, unattached, 19:51; 5. Gustavo Villavazo, SWOCC, 20:04; 6. Jacob Dalrymple, SWOCC, 20:06; 7. William Hennum, SWOCC, 20:08; 8. Bradley Beaver, SWOCC, 20:17; 9. Dexter Patching, UCC, 20:26; 10. Noah Retherford, UCC, 21:47; 11. Samuel Marchetti, UCC, 21:57; 12. Miles Stanford, SWOCC, 23:05; 13. Grayson Goodale, SWOCC, 23:29; 14. Lawrence Winowiecki, SWOCC, 24:15; 15. Enrique Molina-Sanchez, UCC, 28:27.
TEAM SCORES — Umpqua 15, Southwestern Oregon incomplete.
INDIVIDUALS — 1. Samantha Eichman, UCC, 24:57; 2. Kristen Thomas, UCC, 27:13; 3. Genessa Eldredge, UCC, 29:37; 4. Kathryn Philbrook, UCC, 29:49; 5. Kaya Akana, UCC, 30:13; 6. Daniela Vimbela, SWOCC, 30:57; 7. Elizabeth Jarvis, UCC, 32:00; 8. Gabriela Rudd, UCC, 32:21; 9. Hannah Blackhard, SWOCC, 32:29.