Sprague, McKay, North Compete At GVC League Preview Meet

By Jeremy McDonald


CORVALLIS, Ore.–  For the first time all season, the nine teams of the Greater Valley Conference gather together to preview the course that will be that of the District Championships at Crystal Lake Sports Park on October 26.

“I like it a lot because I get lost easily,” said Sprague Olympian Ginger Murnieks.  “I like this course a lot, it’s flat and a lot better than last year.  It’s a fun variety and stuff like that.

Murnieks would go on to finished 39th in the Varsity Girls Race with a time of 24:32.55.

Sprague’s Ginger Murnieks (far right) competing hard in Wednesday’s GVC meet (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

North Salem’s Madison Willhoft mentioned that being familiarized with the course will be helpful to be mentally and physically focused as she finished fourth in the same race as Murnieks Wednesday.

She also said what they do in between races, either in preparation for Districts or for the next race, will help them prepare to get better.

“What we like to do is after the race, we like to analysis what we could’ve done better, what we done great,” said Willhoft.  “And in our heads, we figure it out then we use our future races, or Districts, to do the same thing.”


The race Wednesday was also everyone’s first 5K race of the season.

For team’s like West Salem, McKay, North Salem, South Salem, and Forest Grove; they had some prior race experience in the Wilsonville Night Meet on August 26 entering the GVC Preview Meet.

Erick Brambila keeping up with the pack in front of him (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

Royal Scots Erik Brambila, who finished 22nd in the Varsity Boys Race, said that a 3K race like in Wilsonville or 5K like in Corvallis, the mindset and approach is the same.

“I usually keep my mindset the same way,” he said.“I just say, ‘I got to make a big goal, I got to motivate my other team members and I got to try as hard as anyone else out there.  If your not trying your hardest, then your failing.”

With Brambila and Vikings Francisco Ramos, they both were competing against West Salem’s Ahmed Muhammed, the 2015 State Champion in Cross Country and finished third in the 3,000 meters and fifth in the 1,500 meter races in Track and Field this past Spring, who won the race in 16:06.42.

Brambila knows that it’s always a struggle to keep up with Muhammed and the Titans, but he knows that they have the same goals as he does and it’s about staying the course.

“Honestly it’s always a struggle trying to keep up with them,” said Brambila.  “But you got to know that they have the same goals as we do.  We have to have the same motivation as they do, we have to train just as hard.”

Ramos, who finished 23rd in the Varsity Boys race, knows that having an opportunity to race a State Champion is an honor and drives him.

Ahmen Mohammed (West T-Shirt) set the pace Wednesday as he is the Man To Beat in the GVC in 2016 (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

“When people bring up Ahmed, it seems like a daunting challenge,” said Ramos.  “Cause he’s State Champion and he has a whole bunch of records and to prepare, I’m going to train with my team.

“They motivate me as well as one of my friends, Madison Willhoft, she’s one of the main reasons why I compete against people like Ahmed.  So I think it’s really cool to have a chance to compete with a State Champion every meet.”

With the team’s loading up to head back home and rest, they have a lot to rest their hats on moving forward.

Sprague finished second in the Girls Junior Varsity, fourth in the Girls Varsity and fifth in the Boys Varsity.

“I think we did pretty good,” said Murnieks.  “We’re going to have a really good season, we’re all doing good and we finish strong so it’s going to be a great season.”

The North Salem Varsity Girls Finished Third behind Forest Grove (1st) and McMinnville (2nd) (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)



McKay finished seventh in the Boys JV and Varsity races as Head Coach Arch Zellick liked how his team finished.


“I like it, I really liked how they finished,” said Zellick.  “A lot of them moved up in the last half-mile and good kicks, it shows that they got more left to keep getting better.

North Salem Boys Varsity finished third in the Girls Varsity and fourth in the Boys Varsity and  Head Coach Don Berger knows that his team has a long way to go after a solid performance by his team.

“It was a good solid day for us,” said Berger.  “Almost all the kids were ahead of the time of last year in this meet.  And it’s significant, like 30 or 40 seconds.  That being said, we’re still not where we want to be.  We got to keep working hard, be sure we’re at practice everyday and we got a ways to go.”

Full Results Go To:  http://www.athletic.net/CrossCountry/Results/Meet.aspx?Meet=118681#/269 

Full Photo Gallery of Meet:  https://jmcdonaldmedia.com/2016/08/31/photo-gallery-cross-country-gvc-preview-meet/ 

Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook!

Some Pictures of Meet (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)


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