By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– As a freshman Savanna Waters got a taste of the State Cross Country race where she finished 37th with a time of 21:36.0 in a junior-heavy race that year.
A year later, Waters barely missed out on returning to the Big Show with a ninth-place finish, 45 seconds behind fifth-place finisher in Stayton’s Jessie Mitchell.
Now, two years after her first State Race and as a junior, Waters is returning to the State Race at Lane Community College following her fourth-place finish (20:25.16), beating out Newport’s Alanna Fanning by fractions of a second (20:25.51) for the final automatic State Qualifying spot under the unusually warm October weather in Turner Saturday morning.
“It was definitely hard I had to push through a lot of mental barriers out there because it’s hot and the field is really long but yeah it was good,” said Waters. “Just had to tell yourself to keep going.”
But, with her accomplishing the job of battling through the heat and the course, Waters is advancing to LCC Saturday to race against 4A’s best once more; but it didn’t come without some nerves.
“I’m super excited, next year we’re moving up to 5A too, so I was nervous about that so I was thinking this might be my last year to make it,” said Waters on advancing as a individual runner this time around for State. “So I’m really excited.”
“The team is a really big part of it in having support from people.”
On the guys side, Jose Gibson was the highest finisher for the Cougars guys team at 17th with a time of 17:58.2, and yes there’s some disappointment in how he finished; but Gibson know he has Track and his Senior year of track to make up for it.
“It was a little disapointing that I got 17th but I’m just mostly proud of everybody else that really good and just have to try harder in Track to make it.” starts Gibson. “I mostly have to put it, learn from this.
“Don’t start too fast, try a little harder towards the end and don’t give up.”
Ben Suelzie was the second-highest finisher at 25th (18:58.54) and Elie Newton was 28th (19:07.89).
On the girls side freshman Ashley Fraser was 12th (21:58.72) and in her last race Renee Beckman was 13th (22:12.17) and soccer/cross country athlete Maliah Russell was 26th in a PR-ing run with a 23:42.2.
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