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Lucas runs to record

EAGLE POINT -- John Lucas wasted no time in showing why he's the reigningSouthern Oregon Conference boys district cross-country champion.

Thursday at Eagle Point High School, Lucas recorded a course record witha time of 15 minutes, 56 seconds over 5,000 meters in a three-way meet withSouth and North Medford.

South Medford claimed the team championship, placing all five of itsboy runners in the top 10.

In the girls 5,000-meter race, South's Erica Schwendener used a strongfinishing kick to edge North's Kim Harris by 11 seconds.

Schwendener's finish helped the Panthers claim the girls team victoryas well.

Lucas, a junior, finished 50 seconds ahead of the Panthers' Tim Meador,who crossed the finish line with a time of 16:46.

This was a good early season run for him (Lucas), said EaglePoint coach Matt Pinder. I told him to push it, and he did.

Pinder talked with Lucas before the race about not letting down whenhe got a big lead, and the advice paid off.

Sometimes when you get a big lead, you back off a little,said Pinder. It's tough to push yourself as opposed to having someoneon your shoulder, but John really ran well.

Along with Lucas' first-place finish, Eagle Point landed three otherrunners in the top 10. Robbie Nutter finished fifth (17:18), John Buda eighth(18:27) and Thaddeus Gala ninth (18:35).

I was really pleased with our times, said Pinder. Weimproved almost one minute from our practice times a week ago. The big improvementwon't be happening anymore, so we're going to have to start looking at theother teams and how they do.

South had runners finish second (Meador), third (Perry Custance, 16:58),fourth (Jed Baures, 17:17) and sixth (Creighton Helms, 17:32).

Nic Niemeyer was the lone North runner to crack the top 10, finishingin seventh place with a time of 17:53.

In the girls race, Schwendener and Harris were locked in a tight battleuntil Schwendener pulled away with 300 meters to go to finish with a timeof 20:17. Harris finished with a time of 20:28.

Panther runners Janette Martin (21:05), Sarah Eyman (21:07), Rachel Tarshes(21:17), Amois Gonzalez (21:24), Leina Naversen (21:37) and Ellena Flood(21:58) finished in slots 3-8, while North's Catrina Singley (23:52) andAshley Spencer (24:09) finished ninth and 10th.

Erin Allen was the Eagles' top girls finisher, placing 11th with a timeof 24:13.

All the boys and girls teams will next gear up for the SOC pre-districtmeet Thursday at Stewart Park in Roseburg.

BOYS

TEAM SCORES -- 1, South Medford 25, Eagle Point 39, North Medford 64.

INDIVIDUALS

1, John Lucas, EP, 15:56; 2, Tim Meador, SM, 16:46; 3, Perry Custance,SM, 16:58; 4, Jed Baures, SM, 17:17; 5, Robbie Nutter, EP, 17:18.

6, Creighton Helms, SM, 17:32; 7, Nic Niemeyer, NM, 17:53; 8, John Buda,EP, 18:27; 9, Thaddeus Gala, EP, 18:35; 10, Kirk Perttu, SM, 18:45.

11, Troy Babbitt, NM, 18:49; 12, J.R. Manes, SM, 18:56; 13, Jon Jackson,SM, 19:18; 14, Kevin Ludlow, NM, 20:02; 15, Simon Driskell, NM, 20:04.

16, Johnny Nelmes, EP, 20:20; 17, Ryan Harris, NM, 20:47; 18, Scott Seary,NM, 21:11; 19, Jon McNeil, NM, 23:33.

GIRLS

TEAM SCORES -- South Medford 19, North Medford 46, Eagle Point (inc).

INDIVIDUALS

1, Erica Schwendener, SM, 20:17; 2, Kim Harris, NM, 20:28; 3, JanetteMartin, SM, 21:05; 4, Sarah Eyman, SM, 21:07; 5, Rachel Tarshes, SM, 21:17.

6, Amois Gonzalez, SM, 21:24; 7, Leina Naversen, SM, 21:37; 8, EllenaFlood, Sm, 21:58; 9, Catrina Singley, NM, 23:52; 10, Ashley Spencer, NM,24:09.

11, Erin Allen, EP, 24:13; 12, Whitney Williams, NM, 24:22; 13, JessicaGrimes, NM, 24:31.47; 14, Meredita Walker, NM, 24:31.98; 15, Alyssa Walker,NM, 24:32; 16, Teresa Campanelli, EP, 25:44.

Girls winner Erica Schwendener, left, of South Medford, receives a hug from teammate Janette Martin. - Photo by Andy Atkinson</P