Kyle Thompson photo by Angela Collins
With all but ideal running conditions the girls’ of the Mt. Hood Conference got out well at the start. Paige Rice of St. Mary’s Academy was the over-whelming favorite prior to the start, and, although she did not actually lead every step of the way, Paige made it appear as if she had. Ms. Rice led after 200 meters, when they rounded the first turn of the track and headed down the straightaway. By the time that she began the slight incline up and away from the track only one runners remained near her and by the time she had run the fifteen or so meters up the grade, she had pulled away from all challengers.
From that point onward it was no longer a question of victory but how much would she win by and what would be her final time. Her lead would continue to increase the rest of the rest, as it moved to a good thirty meters, when she returned and ran by the north end of the track and then grew to a hundred meters by the time she had rounded the soccer field at the far end of the grounds. Paige was obviously intent on making a statement prior to the State meet by posting a good time.
Behind Paige the race for runner-up positions developed in a very orderly manner with runners staking out their positions early and then holding them the rest of the way. Gresham’s Kennedy Martin took possession of second in the early going and extended her lead over the ultimate third place finisher Mandie Maddux of Barlow, who opened a gap over the ultimate fourth place finisher Emily Trosino of Reynolds. Behind them St. Mary’s runners were methodically assuming control of the team race, as Bella Gazzola, Maggie Riley, Eric Keathley & Haley McDonald ran in order but not far apart.
The runners essentially run three loops of the grounds yet in their final half mile of the race both Paige & Martin were actually lapping runners, which gives one an idea how well both runners were doing on this day. Paige rolled to victory in an excellent time of 17:54, while Kennedy Martin secured second with 18:49. Mandie Maddux claimed third & the first individual berth to the State meet with her time of 19:12 and Reynolds Emily Trosino also earned a ticket to Eugene with her time of 19:22. Bella Gazzola continued to lead the parade of SMA runners and earned fifth with a time of 19:44 and was followed in turn by Maggie Riley (19:48), Celeste Raymond (19:51) & Carly Januzzi (19:51).
Gresham runners Erica Keathley & Haley McDonald finished a second apart, as Erica took ninth with 20:01. Julia Stevenson of Central Catholic garnered eleventh with her time of 20:18 & Anna Jensen of Barlow finished behind St. Mary’s Mickayla Phillis to score the last State berth with her time of 20:29. Sadly the State’s decision to save money means fewer qualifiers to State this year. Unofficial team scores have St. Mary’s winning the team race with a low of 33 points, while Gresham was second with 67.
Kyle Thompson is only a sophomore but he runs, as if he is an upper classman. On Wednesday he dominated from the start and had a fifteen meter lead by the time that he left the track & went up the grade at the 300 meter mark of the race. Like Paige Rice before him Kyle was making a statement at District. In his wake a pack of ten runners vied for the runner-up position essentially from the beginning of the race.
Thompson’s lead kept expanding over the chase pack & the unofficial mile time was a brisk 4:47. The pack remained at ten for the next two loops of the course and it was only during the last loop that it was finally reduced to six runners. Barlow runners Jacob Campbell & Jackson Haselnus were in the mix along with Sam Truax of Central Catholic, Dylan Hanson of Gresham, Taylor Hybl of Centennial plus Jordan Landstrom of CC, who was already struggling a bit to maintain the group’s pace. Not far behind were Central runners Sam Lomax & Andrew Green, who were making sure that the Rams would have no problems in the team race.
While Thompson was cruising to victory in the final stages of the race, his pursuers finally began to establish a final finishing order around the time that they raced near the tennis courts with a little more than a half mile left in the race. Kyle Thompson not only easily claimed victory but his final mark of 15:26 was the fastest time of the day in all the numerous district races held on Wednesday. Jacob Campbell (15:55) & Jackson Haselnus (16:00) led Barlow with their 2nd & 3rd place finishes to a second place team finish behind the Rams and a trip to State. Sam Truax, who is only a freshman, claimed fourth in a fine 16:05 & his team mate Dylan Hanson of Gresham placed fifth earning the first of the individual State berths up for grabs.
Taylor Hybl of Centennial took sixth in 16:09 to earn an individual bid, while Jordan Landstrom of CC (16:11) led a trio of Catholic finishers: Sam Lomax, yet another freshman – 16:26, and Andrew Green, who followed a second later. Austin Burns of Barlow took tenth in 16:30 & Ian Stevens of Reynolds qualified for State individually with his 11th place effort in 16:35. His Reynolds team mate Keenan Follett also qualified for State by taking 12th one second behind him.
The team scores saw Central Catholic triumph with a total of 29 points. Sam Barlow secured second with 52. Reynolds was a distant third with 82 points, while Centennial was fourth with 95. Good luck and safe travel to all fans & runners, who will head to Eugene in a week.