Boys start (Craig Rice pic)
Once again the Adidas Concordia Classic presented a rousing meet, which offered top flight competition. Andrew Gardner of Mead displayed the ability, which has already earned him two berths at Foot Locker national in San Diego, and he broke the course record of Trevor Dunbar. Gardner took two seconds off a mark, that many thought might never be broken by zipping home in 14:45. The record had been established by Trevor Dunbar of Kodiak, who interestingly enough had just placed fifth in the NCAA Pre-National meet, which was held in Louisville, Kentucky.
Gardner wins (pic by Craig Rice)
Gardner, looking smooth and powerful and as one on-looked noted “on top of his game”, almost toyed with the opposition. Although a number of runners remained in contention early Gardner would pick up the pace to force his rivals to extend a bit and, when they reeled him back in, accelerated once more. In the end Travis Neuman of Summit was the only runner to make a concerted effort to stay with the Mead meteor but he too finally seemed to say “not today” and relented, as Andrew rolled to a dominant victory in a time of 14:45.
Neuman conserved energy for a time and was joined by his Storm team mates Matthew Maton and Eric Alldritt, who soon followed him closely in a single file formation, that they were so close fans thought they might clip each other’s heels. The trio, however, is used to running together and they remained together, when they hit the track but a determined Travis sped away to claim second in 15:06. Although well behind Gardner his clocking should not be under-estimated for his time of 15:06 would have been more than good enough in every year that this meet has been held: save for Dunbar’s march in 2008. For the record the next fastest time on the course was Matt Melancon ’s time of 15:10. The former Sheldon runner also competed that day in Louisville for the Ducks. Matthew Maton is having a sensational sophomore season and he held his own until the very end, when he placed third in 15:08, which of course would have made him triumphant most years. Eduardo Juarez of Hermiston had his biggest day of the season earning third in 15:17, which saw him edge Colby Gilbert of Skyview by only two seconds. Eric Aldritt contributed a fine sixth place effort for Summit in 15:20 to give his team a solid edge in the team race. Alaskan State champion Levi Thomet of Kodiak was clocked in a fine 15:26, when he placed 7th, which is a fine time, when one considers that his season had ended two weeks earlier. Alejandro Cisneros of Hermiston garnered 8th with his time of 15:27 and then Aaron Roe, a sophomore from Henry Jackson, came home ninth in 15:35. Oregon Episcopal runner Nick Obletz followed in tenth in 15:35 and Matthew Campbell of Siuslaw headed his team’s second place effort behind Summit (Summit won 136 to 150 to Henry Jackson’s 165) with his eleventh place finish of 15:38.
(pic by Craig Rice)
The quality of the race is easily evidenced, when one looks at the torrent of times, which soon cascaded and Jose Macias of Hermiston came home twelfth with a very solid time of 15:41. Only a second behind him was Jonathan Cornish of North Valley, who placed 13th, while Matthew Butler of Siuslaw took 14th with 15:43. One of the wisest races was turned in by Sean Eustis of Washougal, who I inadvertently left out of the preview, who let the leaders go and was back somewhere between twenty & twenty-fifth early. Sean placed 15th in 15:43 to edge David Cornish of NV by a second. Jadon Olson of Jackson followed with 15:45 and Mark Marbas of Siuslaw secured 18th in 15:47. Isaac Stinchfield of Washougal had gone out hard & struggled towards the end of the race but persevered down the stretch to remain in 19th with 15:52. Daniel Schofield of Mead came home 20th in 15:52 as he edged Jonathan Estrada of Salesian, who was the top Californian.
Girls midway (pic by Craig Rice)
The girls’ race was certainly a completely different affair with a large pack remaining together for some time. Piper McDonald of Summit and Maggie Coleman took turns leading early but were only the titular leaders, as a large pack remained in contention. The Grant two of Erin Clark & Sara Tsai moved to the front shortly thereafter with Ella Donaghu of Grant tucked safely between yet a bit behind their shoulders. Still there was a sizable crowd, who remained with them including Alexis Fuller of Union, Gracie Tostenson of Crater, Kelly O’ Neill of Lakeridge, Maggie Coleman, Piper McDonald plus Monica Anderson of Marist.
Things had been sorted a bit by the mile, which was reached in 5:38. The South Eugene duo seemed to control the pace, while Donaghu appeared content to remain close. Most of the chase pack had yielded but Alexis Fuller was just behind and was followed in turn by Kelly O’Neill. The two mile mark was reached in 11:28 and the contenders had been whittled down to the former three runners. Donaghu had seized the lead prior to making the final turn with around a hundred meters remaining and there was no catching her, as she hurtled down the slight grade prior to the track and she won a time of 17:32,which obliterated the record of 17:41, which had been set last year by Tsai. Sara had been about five meters back, when she hit the tracked but closed a bit to claim second in 17:32.8. Erin Clark had a stellar 17:35 to take third: a time, which was well under the record as well as the former record of Leah Francis from 2006 of 17:42.
Donaghu wins (pic by Craig Rice)
Parkes Kendrick finished alone for Grant in fourth with 17:52 and Maggie Coleman of Hermiston followed in fifth with a fine time of 18:03. With the hill coming just prior to the track runners were flying, as they headed towards the finish line and Alexis Fuller led the legion of pursuers with her time of 18:05. MaryKate McGuire of Dallas rolled home seventh in 16:06 and Kelly O’ Neill placed a solid eighth in 18:08 with Grace Grim of Hood River Valley coming up big with her ninth place effort in 18:09. Gracie Tostenson earned tenth in 18:12 & Siuslaw’s Katy Potter garnered eleventh in 18:14. Tess Michaelson of Lincoln followed a second later to round out the first dozen harriers.
Brooke Lizotte represented Alaska well, as the Lathrop runner was clocked in 18:23 for 13th. Piper McDonald of Summit ran 18:24 to earn 14th for Summit but Piper Donaghu placed 15th for Grant (18:34) but her Generals managed the team victory by a 90 to 93 verdict over South Eugene, which received a 16th place fine finish from Phacelia Cramer in 18:43. Cassie McKinney of Union took 17th with 18:43 and Jenna Mattox of Bend followed in 18th a second later. Nineteenth went to Monica Anderson of Marist, who held on gamely to finish in 18:48, while Brooke Kingma of Henry Jackson finished 20th with 18:54. Jenna Northey of Service in Alaska had an off day but still ran 19:05 to place 23rd.
It was a great day of racing, as most teams made their final big push prior to their State meets. Camas elected to hold out their varsity runners and it is a shame that others did not participate but even so it remains the state’s most interesting race as far as I am concerned. It is especially appreciated that the Alaskan athletes are willing to make the long trek and extend their seasons to be a part of the action. It is only 26 degrees as I write today in Fairbanks, Alaska and it has to be a far greater challenge for runners likePeter Noon (25th) & Kuba Grzeda (35th) of West Valley to log the miles at this time of the year, yet they still rantimes of 15:56 & 16:16, which are times the greater percentage of harriers would love to have. Palmer’s Chris Osiensky ran 16:35 to place 54th, while Lathrop ’s Allison Hebard earned 44th in the girls’ Elite race with 19:55. One of the Alaskan participants summed up this year’s Years as follows: "It was a fast race this year. I personally had a bad race but the field itself continues to get faster every year. Very cool/fun to be a part of!"
Alisha Luna of Klamath Union won the other varsity race for girls with 18:11 and Zoe Falk of Sisters was a distant second & Sasha Gonzalez of Milwaukie was right behind her in 19:06. Sisay Gillock of Portland Christian annexed the other boys’ race, as Pake Benthin of Molalla (16:12) and Kody Osborne (16:23) of East Linn Christian took second & third respectively.
A special thank you to Craig Rice, who provided all of the pictures used here save this pic of Brooke Lizotte by Angela Collins.