By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– A few days ago in Yamhill, Stayton Cross Country did something that no other Eagle team did:
Win the Boys Cross Country Oregon West Conference Title.
“I mean it’s pretty exciting,” said Head Coach Erin Holm. “Probably the coolest thing is not only they won it, I mean they all worked really ahrd. Some of them been trying for it since last year, quite a few of this group did Winter Training last year and then they ran all summer.
“But I think the neatest thing is that, there’s no seniors. There’s two juniors, a couple of sophomores and a freshman; so this whole team is coming back in tack for next year.”
Their names: Junior Casey Pugh(2nd at Districts), sophomore Matthew Frazeur (3rd), sophomore Tory Saari (5th), sophomore Dylan Cudd (14th), junior Brody Johnson (17), freshman Ben Kirby (18) and freshman Issac Nieto (23).
And there’s excitement in knowing of what they accomplished and knowing that the feeling will stay with them forever.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while and it felt pretty good,” said Kirby on the accomplishment. “It was super exciting and I’m still happy about it. It’s something I’ll look back at for a long time and see that it’s still there.”
The celebration is short lived however as Stayton prepares for the 4A State Championship Race at Lane Community College Saturday morning in Eugene, and as they tapper off for the last time, the energy is there.
But so are the nerves are there as freshman Jessica Mitchell makes her State debut as she found her groove as the season progressed as Mitchell finished fifth at OWC Districts this past Saturday.
“I’m kind of nervous, but it’s really cool,” she said. “At first, it seemed really hard cause the workouts are a lot harder. I don’t expect to win, but I expect to do well.”
Mitchell is the lone Girl Runner to qualify to State as she joins the Boys team down in Eugene.
Holm’s is confident that behind Johnson and him making his second trip to State, the Boys will have a chance to finish Top 4 in the State. Holm hopes that as well Mitchell can set the pace for the girls team as they look to build to a big run next year as well as the boys team.
“I think they’re going to be nervous and stuff for this year, but at the same time we’ve been in enough meets this season where the only teams that were beating us were 6A or 5A,” said Holm. “This year will definitely be that building one at State, like I said I would also think we’ll be successful if we were in the Top 4, I think that’s where they’re at too right now if they can be in there.
“Jessie (Mitchell), our goal for her is to be in the Top 21. But we have a couple of girls coming back next year and we have a really good group of eighth-graders, so actually next year, I think our girls team will have a really good shot at going to State.”
One thing is for sure though as they prepare for the 11am and 1145am Girls and Boys Race, these Stayton Eagles runners are building for something great this season and going forward.
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