By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– For much of Saturday morning’s race, McKay’s Jazmine Liebl led the race by a sizable margin in her first win of the 2019 season.
Entering the final mile and some change the junior racer, who would end up breaking her PR by 17 seconds on this day, led even her teammates in Sydney Haines and Kaydance Nguyen by roughly 30 seconds.
Haines and Nguyen were sitting second and third at this point of the race.
“It was pretty hard to fight through it by myself, there was a point in the coruse where I thought I was going the wrong way so I got scared. Also too a dog was jumping on me, I got chased by a dog,” smiled Liebl.
It’s not too often a dog gets involved with a race, but the K-9 didn’t seem to bother Liebl and her strong pace Saturday on the Keizer Rapids Course.
“She’s a really good runner,” smiled Haines of her teammate.
Liebl’s 19:02.9 time puts her third on the McKay All-Time list, roughly 56 seconds from the All-Time mark set by Dawn Morgan in 2000 and 16 seconds from her coach Janelle Everetts from 2007.
Haines and Nguyen each cracked under the 20-minute mark that moved them into the Top 10 All-Time. The sophomore in Haines second-place finish of 19:39.1 puts her sixth All-time while the freshman Nguyen’s third-place time of 19:49.0 has her seventh.
Each are behind another Everetts in Megan, who’s 2007 time of 19:26.9 is fifth. Ximena Neva, who finished fourth in Saturday’s race, her 20:26.18 time is 12th All-Time.
Emotions were high for Liebl, Haines and Nguyen following the race. Liebl was choking up as the three runners cracked the sub-20 minute mark and PR’d together.
“I’m so happy and I’m hoping that we can go to State. It’s like ‘ahh!’, it’s exciting,” smiled and laughed Nguyen. “I didn’t think I was going to break 20 and I’m like, ‘ah’. It felt so good, you just have to push through it.”
“I’m so excited for our team honestly, I’m really proud of them. I know they can do it by the way they perform during our workouts, I knew they could do it and I knew that this was a good course to PR at because this is the course I did really well at last year too,” adds Liebl.
The Scots have one more Mountain Valley Conference-league race and two more big races at the Warner Pacific XC Classic and the big ‘Pre-District’ race at Creekside Gold Course leading into November 2’s MVC District race at Bush Park.
Saturday’s performance was great nonetheless, but it’s just a stepping stone for that District Race here in a few weeks.
“Just know you can go that fast and push to get it every time and training,” said Nguyen.
McKay’s Claudio Miranda clocked an 18:03.12 time in his 16th place finish and Anotnio Anaya clocked an 18:58 in the guys race.