By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.–Making the move to High School 5K Cross Country is no easy task for freshman to do, especially when your going up against some tough competition week-in and week-out like Ella Repp has encountered this season.
But when your training with one of the Greater Valley Conference top runners that’s been through the gauntlet herself a few times in Kaliey Doutt, Repp’s time went from Mid-23’s to hovering towards that 20-minute time entering the District Meet Wednesday at Bush Park.
As they went out around the 3.1-mile course Wednesday, Repp stayed close to her Senior teammate in Doutt as Sprague’s Ginger Murnieks tore the race open by the halfway mark of the race going down the Derby Hill and back into the park with about a mile to go in her District win. Repp, however, found herself on the outside of the Top 10 to qualify for State at 13th.
Bittersweet as it was Repp descirbed as she PR’d with a 19:46.41, nearly a full-25 seconds off her previous PR set on October 4 against West Salem, Repp knows it’s just the beginning for her moving forward.
“I think I did pretty good, but I was wishing for Top 10 but it’s ok I guess because I PR and I’m a freshman,” laughed Repp on her race. “I think it’s pretty good, I’m proud of myself and I think I’m going to improve by working harder next year and try to stick with the bigger and tougher girls.”
Doutt, after going to State as a freshman and a sophomore, too had a bittersweet moment to her season and her Celtic Cross Country career Wednesday in finishing 12th, just ahead of her freshman teammate with a season-best time of 19:39.3; 21 seconds behind the last State Qualifer in North Salem’s Madison Willhoft.
With the Boys Varsity Race going on around her following her race, the feelings of the moment didn’t really sink in immediately following the race, but the Senior knew she left a lasting message for Repp and the rest of the younger athletes she ran with this season.
“It hasn’t really hit me that it was my last High School Race, but it was a fun year and it’s been a really good four-years and I’m excited for the future,” starts Doutt. “I would tell Ella, she’s an amazing runner and if she keeps working hard and pushing herself because I know she’s really into running and she’s going to work her butt off, she’s going to do amazing things and she’s going to make it to State next year and the rest of her High School career.
“I’ll tell her to be confident, something I struggled with a lot and running is like a lot of your mind, so I would tell them to be confident and be positive with themselves and I know they can do it. Just work really hard and the results will come.”
As Doutt goes off into the sunset of her High School Cross Country career like a old Clint Eastwood movie, Repp and the rest of the returning McNary Celtic Girls team will move on and improve moving onto 2018.
Repp, who is going to be probably the Top Girls runner next season, is already thinking ahead in how she can improve as a runner and help build that family-like team bonding that can help them improve as a team
“I would say, setting goals for each miles, that has helped a lot because I was talking to some girls before and she was like, ‘how should I run this time?’ and I was trying to do the math in my head trying to help her out,” smiled Repp. “But she PR’d too, the girl I was talking to, both of them, that’s really cool.
“Also being a team and I think doing team activites and getting to know each other so we can stick together and we can grow as a group and as a team. Become like a family, I think that’ll encourage more people to run faster and be like, ‘if she’s trying, I should try harder…if she’s trying to get that time and I am thinking I don’t need to try my hardest this time’, it will help bring the girls to get faster.”
McNary’s David Allen finished 21st with a time of 17:40.86 as the top Guys Varsity finisher. Nate Prout was 12th with a time of 18:49.61 in the Boys JV Race. Jaizelle Samson was the top McNary runner at 23rd place with a 24:01.29 time.