By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The basis of the course was from North Salem’s first-year Head Cross Country Coach Michael Hermann when was a assistant under then-Cross Country Head Coach, now Cross Country assistant coach Don Berger; the skeleton/body of it described Hermann as McKay Head Coach Jason Zellick build from for this years 2017 Bush Park Course.
The course this year, the 2K17 version of the Bush Park Trail, will be the one the nine-teams of the Greater Valley Conference teams will be competing on come the end of the season; and it’s faster compare to last years.
Instead of the grueling hill going up the Derby Hill that has been the highlight of the run, this year is a decline meaning runners will speed up running through it; and the lone incline in the race looks like and feels like walking up it, easier than the bunny hill.
Sprague’s Kaylee Mitchell, who helped pace the JV Olympian runners in the first race of the day
“I feel like it’ll be a really fast course, it has only the one uphill and it has that long downhill down there and we get to run down the Derby Hill instead of running up the derby hill so that’s 10-times better,” laughed Mitchell who’s entering her senior year, her second at in a Sprague uniform.
“It’s a lot less mentally tough, only because you only have one hill to get up instead of two and it’s only after the first mile that you have to run up the hill, so it’s not like your completely dead,” added Mitchell on the course difference between 2016 and 2017. So the rest of the time, it’s just downhill you have to worry about so it’s not as mentally tough and it’s not as physically exhausting because you do have that long down hill stretch and you have that long derby hill downhill. So I don’t know, it’s a lot faster course.”
For McKay and McNary, this year’s host at Bush Park and are the host for the District race on October 25, there’s something special about hosting such of a event.
“I think it’s really exciting, I mean it really shows a spotlight on McKay and how we’ve improved throughout the years..and see the team grow and come together, it’s really fun,” said the Scots Erik Brambila, who finished less than a second behind teammate and McKay’s fastest boys runner in Jose Heredia.
Heredia ran a 19:29.38 on the day and Brambila a 19:30.10.
The Celtics Jonas Honeyman too added that there’s a sense of pride in hosting the event of that maginitude as he’ll be racing in the last race of the afternoon Wednesday.
“It’s pretty great to know that we’re the one’s hosting it,” he said. “We’ve got the privilege to be at a great meet and just introducing the rest of the Cross Country teams.”
Honeyman ran a 19:16.58 and was 29th in the first 5K race of the season for everyone.
In the first guys race without 2017 West Salem-Grad Ahmed Muhammed leading the pack, Forest Grove’s Quincy Norman took the top spot at 16:27.41 with South Salem’s Jay Grant second at 16:58.27.
West Salem’s Brennen Le Bel (fourth, 17:29.00) and the Saxon’s Eric Lungu (fifth, 17:36.53) round out the Top 5 of the Varsity Boys race. David Rojas (18:15.24) was the top North Salem runner in the 11th position, Ethan Whalen (19:06.04) was the top McNary runner in the 25th position and the Olys Landon Sorenson (20:12.51) was tops for Sprague in the 45th position.
On the girls side of the Varsity race, South’s Anna Chau (19:48.26) took the top spot with the Lady Viks Abi Swan (20:30.75) and a late kick by Madison Willhoft (20:32.28) put her third as West Salem’s Jaden Mandal was fourth with a 20:34.45 time.
Senior Kailey Doutt was the top runner for the Lady Celts in 25th with a 23:36.99 time, Ximena Nava was the top McKay runner in 34th position with a 24:06.10 time and Heather Warner was the top runner for Sprague in 43rd with a 24:38.88 time.
Some Junior Varisty notables include McNary’s Nina Garland (fourth, girls race), Noah Egli (fifth, guys race), North Salem’s Aaliyah Fitzke (fifth, girls race).
Now, as the teams go their separate ways, for much of the team’s like West Salem, McKay, McNary, North Salem and Forest Grove all are making the trip to Tillamook for the Ultimook Race Nike Invitational, a really fun race describes the Lady Viks Willhoft as she races their one last time.
“I’m really excited, I hope we get a plaque, that’ll be kind of cool for my senior year and stuff. I want to do big things as a senior,” said Willhoft with a smile.
South Salem will be off until the Saxon Invite on September 9, but rival-Sprague it’s off to The Invitational in Richardson Park at Fern Ridge Reservoir about 12 miles west of Eugene for the second-time as they build some team bonding and build from Wednesday’s success at Bush Park.
“We all get to run fast because it’s not like a hilly course, so we get to encourage each other with running fast and hopefully it’ll boost all of our confidences because it’s not a hilly course of course,” starts Mitchell. “We just hang out and last year I baked cookies and I think we’re going to have that as a petition, so we’re going to have cookies and just hang out and cheer for each other.”
Few pictures from Wednesday’s Races, minus the Varsity Guys Race (Pictures By Jeremy McDonald)