Maag leads Jesuit girls to narrow win at Nike Pre Nationals

Story: Lev Rourke
Photos: Kim Spir
Full results

 PORTLAND – Annamarie Maag won the featured Jim Danner race wire-to-wire to lead her Jesuit girls team to a close 55-63 win over Esperanza at the Nike Pre-Nationals on a warm, sun-spattered afternoon.

Running on the Portland Meadows course that will be used for the Nike Nationals in December, Maag, a junior, ran the fast 5k course in 17:45.4, with her teammate Payton Schutte gaining fast on her down the final chute. Schutte, also a junior, showed her 4:41 1,500 speed at the end and finished a solid 2nd in 17:51.4.
Esperanza, from Anaheim in Orange County, was one of many California schools to make a good showing. The girls from Clairemont H.S. of San Diego won the Div. 2 race, while their teammate, Eamonn McCarey, was 1st in the boys Div. 2 race in 15:39. In Div. 1, Cathedral H.S. of Los Angeles was a close 2nd to Centennial of Las Vegas, 122-134, despite the 1-2 finish of teammates of Enterprise of Redding, Calif. In Div. 1 girls, Esperanza’s “B” team won handily, led by Teeny Adams, who ran 18:13 and perhaps belonged in the Championship race. Her presence on that unit would have been enough to beat Jesuit.
In the feature Danner boys race, another California team, Palos Verdes, (left) won with the low score of the day, 49, well ahead of Auburn-Riverside of Washington. Ben Demaree of Portland Jesuit was the individual winner in 15:05, 5 seconds ahead of A/R’s Kenny Krotzer.
The Div. 2 boys winner was Grant of Portland, which also finished a close 2nd to Clairemont in the Div. 2 girls.
PV was led by Chase Zukerman (4th) and Jonah Diaz (7th). They put all their scorers in the top 15.
In Div. 1 boys, Enterprise went 1-2 with Domenic D’Acquisto (15:31) and Zach Kaylor (15:36).
This event, which began 30 years ago as the Aloha High School Invitational, has produced some prestigious winners in recent years, including NCAA champions Galen Rupp, who won for Central Catholic in 2003, and Brie Felnagle of Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma, Wash.) in 2003-4. Brand Felnagle, believed to be Brie’s younger brother, was 19th in Saturday’s Danner race.
The Danner races are named for the late Jim Danner, on of the founders of this event when he was head cross country coach at Aloha. Aloha’s teams won three Oregon state cross country titles before he died of cancer in 1989 at age 34.
For Maag, it was her second straight title here. She is defending state 6A champion in cross. On hand to cheer her on was her older brother Michael, a recent graduate of Princeton University. Michael Maag, (right) an Ivy League champion while at Princeton, is now a graduate student in computer science at the University of Oregon, where he will be competing next spring as a 5th-year student. “I have one season of eligibility left,” Maag said, “so I get to use it as a Duck.” Maag has run 13:41.17 for 5,000 meters on the track.