Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
PALO ALTO, Calif. — As races go, North Medford senior Ray Schireman didn't exactly feel like Saturday's cross country run at the Stanford Invitational was going to be special, save for the experience of going against some national-caliber competition.
What Schireman didn't know at the start of his race, or even through the first few legs, was how special this day would be for the 18-year-old standout.
Schireman covered the 5,000-meter course for the Division 1 seeded elite boys in 15 minutes, 44 seconds to break the North Medford school record previously set by Drew Jordan (15:46) in 2009.
"The first mile and a half I felt out of it," said Schireman, "but I put it in my head that I just have to make it through the next mile and a half and I'd be fine."
As the distance increased, so did Schireman's pace and he wound up finishing 16th overall to propel the Black Tornado boys to a 20th-place finish as a team.
"He did all the work he needed to this summer," said North head coach Piet Voskes, "and he's been primed and ready to put a performance like this together. It was just an outstanding effort and really impressive to see."
Schireman admitted to being taken aback by his surroundings a little on a perfect day for racing.
"It's weird when you're a kid like me that's always into running and all these kids I'd seen them in the media and on websites and they're running right next to me," he said. "I felt like I could hold my own with them but it was kind of a different feeling. I'm not used to it, that's for sure."
North Medford scored 436 points to finish behind Arcadia, which won with 100 points. Blake Haney of Kern Valley High won in 14:58, just ahead of Seattle Prep's Joe Hardy with the same time.
Black Tornado junior Jon Serna was 40th in 16:28, followed by teammates Connor Covey (83rd, 16:53), Aaran Fagan (133rd, 17:25) and Mason Hageman (203rd, 18:49).
"It was a strong performance, particularly by our top four, against nationally ranked teams," said Voskes. "I thought they conducted themselves like they belonged there and they really competed well."
North Medford senior Jessica Pettegrew-Sam (95th, 21:11) and freshman Katlynn Suregon (132nd, 21:58) competed in the Division 1 girls race.
NIKE PRE NATIONALS — At Beaverton, adverse conditions that included 30 mile per hour winds and a muddy 5,000-meter course due to constant rain made for rough going for athletes from South Medford, Phoenix and St. Mary's high schools.
In the Division 1 boys race, South Medford finished seventh overall with 263 points and Phoenix was 14th (370 points) as Central Kitsap of Washington cruised to the team title.
South Medford's Ethan Cannon placed 10th overall in 17:24.72 and was followed by teammates Mike Myers (31st, 17:52.29), Cody Larson (56th, 18:19.99), Branden Neville (77th, 18:29.56) and Enoch Cunningham (99th, 18:49.44).
Phoenix was led by Randy Mena, who finished 48th in 18:12.55. Also scoring for the Pirates were Phillip Todak (59th, 18:21.37), Leif Amundsen (61st, 18:21.92), Nigel Leonis (92nd, 18:46.22) and Gabriel Listro (121st, 19:08.25).
In the Division 1 girls race, Phoenix placed 12th (320 points) and South Medford was 16th (383 points) in competition dominated by Poly High of Long Beach, Calif.
Nevina De Luca finished 10th overall for Phoenix for the top finish among the local girls in 20:14.39, while teammate Danielle Jantzer was 21st (20:39.10). Also scoring for the Pirate girls were Shayla Potratz (80th, 22:01.73), Emma Amundsen (102nd, 22:36.86) and Ashlee Vos (118th, 23:00.30).
For South Medford, Tristan Husted finished 58th in 21:45.59, Lela Stemple was 68th in 21:54.94 and Amy Watson 70th in 21:55.65. Also scoring for the Panthers were Stefani Ritter (90th, 22:20.04) and Stefanee Tolner (107th, 22:45.07).
The St. Mary's girls placed second in the Division 3 race by three points behind McKay, 144-141, while the Crusader boys were 12th.
Rachel Bennion paced the St. Mary's girls, finishing 13th in 21:41.58, while Taylor Kreul was 24th in 22:26.62. Also scoring for the Crusaders were Maddy Schwartz (30th, 22:46.18), Madeline Volk (39th, 23:15.91) and Gianna Isola (40th, 23:16.70).
For the Crusader boys, Conor Keating led the charge in 38th place at 18:47.77 and was followed by Tracy Salgado (40th, 19:01.69), Chris Martin (44th, 19:09.51), Jameson Koenigsman (98th, 20:33.17) and Harrison Jensen (130th, 22:24.04).