Pier Park Preview

       There are a number of races of note this week including both the Silver Falls & Hood River Invitationals, which will be held today (Wednesday) plus the South Salem (Saxon) & New Balance Festival of Champions, which will be held on Saturday.   One event, which should not be over-looked is the Pier Park Invite, which will be held on Friday.   Although it is a new meet for high school teams and will only include a meager five teams, the meet offers a surprising array of talent and some key matchups for this early season.

      The girls’ race is especially intriguing due to the pairing of Camas and South Eugene.   Alexa Efraimson of Camas is one of the top runners in the nation and she already has run 18 flat, when she scored in the Run-A-Ree.   In her wake was Alexis Fuller of Union: a very fine runner in her own right.   Camas is one of the top teams in Washington and Efraimson is backed by Alissa Pudlitzke & Maddie Woodson, who both ran in the nineteen minute area last Saturday.   South Eugene can boast the services of Sara Tsai & Erin Clark, who placed second and third respectively at State last fall.   Phacelia Cramer of the Axewomen is also a very capable runner.  Not to be overlooked is the tradition-laden Crusaders of Jesuit, who will be led by Molly Hagler.  Jesuit topped St. Mary’s Academy last weekend in the Walters meet.   Crater is also regularly a power and they are led by Gracie Tostenson, who won the Crater Invitational.

       The boys’ race will feature Central Catholic, which should be led by defending State champion Kyle Thompson, who will make his first start of the year.  Dante Della Gasperina, Zach Lavier, Sam Lomax & Sam Truax will provide added firepower for the Rams.   Camas will counter with Andrew Kaler, who has already run 16;:11.  Camas will also have the services of Tucker Boyd & Andrew Duffy, who have raced well his young season.   Jesuit had an off day last Saturday & looks to rebound, as it is led by Hunter McGuirk & Sam Remington.  Daniel Stoiber will lead the normally dangerous Crater team.

    It should be worth the trip to Pier Park on Friday.  The race, however small the field, may well have a strong bearing on the national rankings for teams & individuals.  Add good weather and a reasonable course and the race offers to be an enjoyable and interesting competition.