By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– When districts ended in 2016, McKay did not have a runner named to the league honors teams. A year later they have two, one from the guys and one from the girls side:
Ramiro Gonzalez and Hanna Caldwell.
“It’s awesome, those two worked hard,” said Head Coach Jason Zellick. “They were out all summer, they were training hard. They were top of those guys who are out there everyday, working hard and it’s showing, they are getting better and I really think that it shows everyone else what they need to do to step up and be that (person).”
With a young squad, it’s good to have someone for them to follow that has achieved something like an Honorable Mention-nod or a second-team-honor to help step up their game themselves as the program continues to evolve moving forward.
And what’s better too, it’s on each side of that figuative ‘ball’ with one being on the girls team and another on the guys team, which is a rariety for the Scots pointed out Zellick.
“That’s awesome, usually we got a strong boys team or we got a strong girls team, but we haven’t had talent at the same time or enough of that at the same time at both so it’s really nice to see,” Zellick said. “It shows across the board that they’re working real hard and just getting better.”
Caldwell PR’d with a time of 20:37.3 finishing two-seconds away from 20th-place as the junior finished 21st in a strong girls field that saw the Top 4 girls finish under the 19 minute mark Wednesday.
It was a crazy experience described Caldwell, but she knows she can improve moving into her senior season of cross country.
“I think I did good, I was really, really excited. I had a lot of fun. It’s crazy,” said Caldwell. “Just keep working really hard and not let anything get into my head.”
Gonzalez, a sophomore, too PR’d as he finished 14th in a relatively young guys field that only saw four seniors in the Top 21 with a 17:23.01 finishing time in Wednesday’s District Meet.
“It feels good because I’ve actually been pushing myself now lately, I just feel excited that I’m in the 17’s,” Gonzalez described receiving second-team honors. “It was difficult to get to this, but I pushed myself.”
With Gonzalez being four-spots and about 15 seconds away from making it to State this year, a race like this shows Gonzalez that he has the ability to get to State as a Junior or as a Senior.
“That I could actually go to State next year, it’s really exciting (to think about),” said Gonzalez. “I’ve always wanted to go to State since my freshman year.”
Keep working towards that goal Gonzalez!
Photos By Jeremy McDonald