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It's a run on titles for the Grizzlies

Ashland's Hemphill, Grizz girls and boys teams join Keyser as SOC champions

ROSEBURG ' Natalie Hemphill finally found her way to the winner's circle at the Southern Oregon Conference girls district cross country meet on Saturday.

Happy as she was, Hemphill was even more thrilled to divert individual glory to her Ashland High teammates, who came through with their own distinguished efforts that earned them a district title at Riverforks Park

Not to be outshone, the Grizzly boys also triumphed, giving the school four district titles ' out of a possible six ' this fall. Ashland won SOC boys soccer and girls volleyball titles earlier this week.

Hemphill toured the scenic, but difficult, 5,000-meter course along the North Umpqua River in 19 minutes and 33 seconds.

Sophomore Lorine Cruz of Grants Pass, a soccer player in her first year of running cross country, made a late charge to pass North Medford's Brittney Dunn and finish second. Cruz was clocked in 19:46 and Dunn in 19:47.

— North Medford's Jade Severson claimed fourth in 19:56, while Aria Hemphill ' Natalie's sophomore sister ' took fifth in 20:08. Rounding out the top seven were Crater's Kristen Haga (20:11) and North Medford's Tanika Woolfolk (20:12).

The Grizzly girls finished with 50 points to edge out North Medford, which totaled 52. Crater was a distant third with 86.

The top two teams and seven individuals qualified for the Class 4A state meet next Saturday at Eugene's Lane Community College.

Hemphill was one of the favorites entering last year's district meet but came down with whooping cough the week of the event. Despite not having enough strength to warm up and needing an inhaler to breath properly before the race, Hemphill somehow wound up fourth.

Saturday, the self-assured senior encountered no such problems. She ran with Dunn for the first two miles of the 3.1-mile event and then kicked into overdrive to win by a wide margin.

It feels great to be healthy, said Hemphill, Ashland's first female SOC champion since Paris Edwards in 2000. Last year I was hurting at this time, but right now I feel great.

Hemphill worked diligently in the off-season to get ready for the cross country season. She began working out on June 5 ' two weeks after the end of track season ' and has been going nonstop ever since.

Running 62 miles per week at her peak, Hemphill's total mileage over the summer was 473 miles.

I put in a lot of work for this, she said, but it was worth it.

Ashland's secret to the team title was its balance. Hitting the tape after the Hemphill sisters were freshman Haley Beal in 11th place (20:30), junior Alyssa Taylor in 16th (2:56) and junior Sophie Distefano in 17th (21:05).

North Medford really brought it today, but our girls were ready for the challenge, Ashland coach Robert Julian said. I knew it would be close. Our depth is what did it.

North Medford coach Pete Voskes was disappointed for his girls that they came up short, but gratified that they earned a state berth for the first time since 2002. He was especially pleased about Woolfolk, a freshman who ran a lifetime best on a course that featured high grass and a couple of hills.

She's improved her time by 4&

189; minutes this season, Voskes noted. She's improved a ton.

The boys meet, meanwhile, saw the Grizzlies make a big push over the final mile that turned what had been projected to be a close meet with North Medford into a rather lopsided affair.

Ashland placed all five of its scoring runners in the top 14. Spencer Bonney bagged fourth in 16:39, and Cameron Barleen took sixth in 16:49 to lead the way.

The Grizzly boys won by 24 points, scoring 45 to North Medford's 69. Klamath Union was third with 79 and Crater fourth with 92.

That was an incredible race by our boys, Julian said. They ran smart. They went out conservatively and then just poured it on. That last mile, they were picking up places like crazy.

Senior John Harris exemplified the hard-charging approach, rallying from 44th place after one mile to 13th at the finish.

He ran an incredibly fast last mile, Julian said.

As expected, Crater's Isaac Stoutenburgh and Jake Keyser were the first two finishers in the boys race. They attempted to finish in a dead heat, but Keyser was accorded the victory in 16:24.

Stoutenburgh, one of the top high school runners in the nation, is expected to battle Central Catholic's Kenny Klotz for individual honors at next week's state meet.

Next week is the important race, said Stoutenburgh, who set a school record of 15:03 earlier this season. The plan today was to just run smooth and finish strong.

BOYS

TEAM RESULTS ' Ashland 45, North Medford 69, Klamath Union 79, Crater 92, Grants Pass 108, Roseburg 147, South Medford 156.

INdivIDUAL ' 1, Jake Keyser, C, 16:24; 2, Isaac Stoutenburgh, C, 16:25; 3, Chris Reed, KU, 16:36; 4, Spencer Bonney, A, 16:39; 5, Dan Landrum, KU, 16:44; 6, Cameron Barleen, A, 16:44; 7, Garrett Frierson, NM, 16:51; 8, Matt Miner, A, 16:53; 9, Rick Nielsen, NM, 16:57; 10, Matt Johnson, GP, 17:11; 11, Dusty Parrish, GP, 17:13; 12, Paul Rapet, SM, 17:14; 13, John Harris, A, 17:16; 14, Dennis McCaffrey, A, 17:17; 15, Nick Anderson, KU, 17:19; 16, Richard Zhu, NM, 17:21; 17, Darrell Terry, NM, 17:22; 18, Trevor Payne, R, 17:24; 19, Brad Higgins, GP, 17:24; 20, Josh Blesse, NM, 17:25.

21, Sam Curtis, NM, 17:26; 22, Chris Hernandez, KU, 17:27; 23, Tanner Arndt, A, 17:28; 24, Curtis Yungen, C, 17:30; 25, Jake Wilton, R, 17:31; 26, Kevin Cook, A, 17:33; 27, Graham Doody, GP, 17:34; 28, David Leyva, NM, 17:36; A.J. Riggs, R, 17:41; 30, Joey Nelson, SM, 17:41; 31, Zach Harris, SM, 17:43; 32, Casey Mundel, C, 17:47; 33, Ryan Santana, C, 17:53; 34, Karl Hoffheins, KU, 17:54; 35, Caleb Jacobson, C, 17:57; 36, Jon Buel, C, 18:09; 37, Darwin Durchanek, R, 18:13; 38, Mitchell Lofstedt, R, 18:20; 39, Octavio Reyes, SM, 18:24; 40, Mark Cruz, KU, 18:25.

41, Cole Burgess, GP, 18:42; 42, Mason Aspera, KU, 18:44; 43, John Edwards, GP, 19:05; Christian Welsh, SM, 19:07; 45, Josiah Marshall, SM, 19:09; 46, Simon Podwika, R, 19:39; 47, Devin Dixon, R, 20:02; 48, Laws Jespersen, SM, 20:21.

GIRLS

TEAM RESULTS ' Ashland 50, North Medford 52, Crater 86, Grants Pass 88, Klamath Union 103, South Medford 148, Roseburg 161.

INdivIDUAL '

1, Natalie Hemphill, A, 19:33; 2, Lorine Cruz, GP, 19:46; 3, Brittney Dunn, NM, 19:47; 4, Jade Severson, NM, 19:56; 5, Aria Hemphill, A, 20:08; 6, Kristen Haga, C, 20:11; 7, Tanika Woolfolk, NM, 20:12; 8, Anna Gomez, KU, 20:23; 9, Jan Frodsham, SM, 20:26; 10, Statia Smith, NM, 20:29; 11, Haley Beal, A, 20:30; 12, Laurel Parks, GP, 20:38; 13, Riley Swanson, C, 20:50; 14, Amanda Straw, GP, 20:54; 15, Kayleigh Tyerman, C, 20:56; 16, Alyssa Taylor, A, 20:56; 17, Sophie Distefano, A, 21:05; 18, Katie Wilton, R, 21:09; 19, Sahmura Gonzales, SM, 21:11; 20, Jaylin Bliss, KU, 21:15.

21, Laurie Stoutenburgh, C, 21:17; 22, Erika Hultz, A, 21:21; 23, Hannah Clark, A, 21:38; 24, Avery Dumbeck, KU, 21:44; 25, Lydia Marsalli, KU, 21:48; 26, Megan McNeary, KU, 21:49; 27, Lauren Sigel, GP, 21:54; 28, Davina Leyva, NM, 22:00; 29, Tory Honzel, KU, 22:03; 30, Samatha Pettibone, R, 22:05; 31, Lindsey Bascom, C, 22:09; 32, Maddie Rokes, KU, 22:10; 33, Ana Engelbretson, GP, 22:11; 34, Talana Morin, R, 22:16; 35, Heather Gagenhuber, R, 22:27; 36, Kelly Weber, SM, 22:33; 37, Lori Barrett, C, 22:36; 38, Alicia Preston, NM, 22:48; 39, Anna Lovelace, GP, 22:50; 40, Rachel Heck, GP, 22:59.

41, Alisha Brown, SM, 23:07; 42, Katie Servoss, NM, 23:10; 43, Katie Eastman, SM, 23:11; 44, Becky Lee, R, 23:17; 45, Katrina Stevens, SM, 23:21; 46, Alex Enriquez, SM, 25:25; 47, Olivia Clark, C, 26:50.

It's a run on titles for the Grizzlies"dhunt@mailtribune.com.

Ashland?s Cameron Barleen, right, leads the group up a rise in the opening kilometer of the Southern Oregon Conference district meet at Riverforks Park in Roseburg. Mail Tribune / Andrew Mariman - Mail Tribune Andrew Mariman