By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– As the first full week of the season comes to an end, South Salem Girls Cross Country were wrapping up their huge home meet at Saxon Invite to mark their first 5K of the 2019 season.
Coming off a season in which they finished second in the Mountain Valley Conference District Meet and tenth as a team at the 2018 6A State Championships, they went off from the starting line in Bush Pasture Park in South Salem to start their first 5K of the season.
A mile in, the Saxons had Paige Trautman, Mackenzie Caprino and Taitum Schapp bunched up just behind the lead pack before making their move over the last two miles of the race Saturday afternoon.
Learning from Anna Chau from the year before, Chau’s lowest 5K finish as a Senior being 12th at the 6A State Race while winning the Saxon Invite last season, has set the gold standard left for the girls returning this season.
“We were all so close and spending time with Anna, the atmosphere we had at South,” said Caprino. “I think we’re ready to go and know what we took from Anna and what it took for us to get to State last year and get ready to go again.”
Caprino finished eighth in the race with a team of 20:20.78 and was the second South runner to cross the finish line in the race as the Saxons finished second in the team points behind Bend.
Trautman finished ahead of Caprino in fifth as the sophomore slowly began to chip away at the runners in front of her down the straightaway and pulled away to finish in the Top 5 as an individual runner in the race.
“I felt pretty good, the first mile I felt slow but I wanted to save some for the second mile and people would die out,” said Trautman on her performance. “It was good, the second mile was definitely hard. I think we all need to speed up a little bit, but I feel like we can do it if we work as a team and we’re starting off the season pretty strong.”
Schapp, who finished tenth in the District Meet last fall, was 14th in the race. Emilie Chau was 18th and Julia McLaughlin was 20th as the Saxons travel to the Northwest Classic September 14 at Lane Community College.