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Grizzlies settle for second

It didn't appear that Ryan Santana and his Crater High cross country coach, Justin Loftus, were on the same page.

No sooner had Santana covered 40 yards in the State of Jefferson Invitational at Lithia Park Saturday than Loftus was pleading with the junior to take it easy.

Santana had gone out fast in a race three weeks earlier, the coach later explained, and faded at the end.

If Santana heeded the advice this time, it wasn't for long. He quickly assumed control of the 5,000-meter race over the trails and under the lush foliage in the upper regions of the park and held off Marshfield's Jared Bassett for his first triumph as a varsity runner.

Santana maintained a narrow lead for much of the race &

he lost it briefly during the last half-mile &

and finished with a time of 17 minutes, 6.65 seconds. Bassett, who placed 26th as a sophomore in the Class 4A state meet last year and, said coach Doug Miles, is considered to be top-five caliber at the Class 5A level this season, was timed in 17:07.93.

Crater showed off its depth by competing without four of its top six runners but still running away with the team title. The Comets, ranked No. — among Class 5A teams, scored 85 points to runner-up Hidden Valley's 121. There were 23 boys teams.

On the girls side, Katie Fritzke of Mt. Shasta High won by more than a half-minute over Lakeview freshman standout Ashley Baldovino. Fritzke clocked 19:43.92 to Baldovino's 20:04.55.

Mt. Shasta won the team crown with 55 points, and Ashland, paced by sophomore Haley Beal, was second with 62 points.

Beal finished fourth individually in 20:54.06, one spot behind Hannah Soza-Hodgkinson of Pleasant Valley High in Chico, Calif., (20:07.76) and one ahead of Hidden Valley's Ashley Gilkey (21.03.03). Last year, Gilkey was the champion, and Hodgkinson was second; the year, before, Hodgkinson won.

Santana enjoyed something of a breakout race. He had won the 3,000 meters in the Bob Newland Track and Field Classic last spring, a meet that showcases the area's underclassmen, and has exhibited signs he's ready to take on a leadership role for the Comets this fall.

And, he said, he didn't defy his coach Saturday.

Santana's plan was to go out as hard as he could and see how long he could sustain the pace. He said Loftus "just wanted me to pick it up when I felt it was necessary." When no one else surged to the front, Santana took it upon himself "to be the race." This despite a foot ailment that surfaced the day before in practice. It bothered Santana for the first 200 yards, he said, but the pain dissipated.

As quickly as Santana went out &

he ran a brisk 5:12 first mile on a course made difficult by hills &

he thought he'd be able to shake Bassett. But the latter hung tough.

"I was making some surges on corners and bridges," said Santana, "but he held on pretty well."

Bassett overtook the Comet late in the race on the final downhill loop, but Santana returned the favor as the course turned uphill with about 1,000 meters left.

"I really hammered him there," said Santana of his final push.

It was the second-best effort of the season for Santana, he said, coming behind only the Jim Danner Classic, when he ran 16:06.

Although he used primarily second-line runners for this meet, Loftus was pleased at how they took it upon themselves to carry the Comets' banner.

"I was kind of hoping that would happen last year," said Loftus. "But this year we've taken it to a new level. It helps when you have depth. We have three seniors in our top 10. You want guys battling in the eighth, ninth, 10th spots. It keeps everyone honest." Jerrod Puckett was 12th for Crater and Josh Elliot 17th.

There was a smattering of local runners in the top 10: Hidden Valley sophomore Connor Kasler was fourth (17:44.40), Rogue River freshman Cole Watson took sixth (17:53.72), Phoenix junior Elliott Jantzer placed eighth (17:55.01) and St. Mary's senior Mike Seus was ninth (17:55.60).

In the girls race, Fritzke made her only appearance in this meet memorable by coasting to victory and defeating Hodgkinson for the first time.

The California Division 5 state champion in 2004, the senior Fritzke had struggled since then to regain her winning form. However, it's recently come together for her.

"This has been a really good season," she said. "I guess I'm maturing, and that's huge. Mentally, I had reached the pinnacle and I didn't know what to do." She didn't seem to be at a loss in this race, even though Baldovino went out strong and led for the first half of the competition.

"She's very good going downhill," said Fritzke, "and I stink downhill. The hills are my strength." Fritzke took the lead, then relinquished it to Baldovino. The former got it back on the last downhill portion, then pulled away as the route turned uphill.

"That was the only way I was going to get her," said Fritzke.

Two other Ashland runners cracked the top 10. Junior Aria Hemphill was seventh in 21:18.95, and senior Alyssa Taylor was eighth in 21:23.04. Lindsay Gasik of St. Mary's was ninth in 21:24.67.

State of Jefferson Invitational

At Lithia Park

BOYS TEAM &

Crater 85, Hidden Valley 121, Cottage Grove 133, Mt. Shasta 180, Corvallis 211, Henley 215, Roseburg 217, Brookings-Harbor 237, Yreka 281, Marshfield 298, Lakeview 315, Rogue River 316, Tridad Christian 330, Central Valley 330, North Medford 335, Pleasant Valley 391, Eagle Point 403, Cascade Christian 441, Illinois Valley 441, Mazama 442, New Hope Christian 453, Bandon 486, Hosanna Christian 548.

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 50) &

1, Ryan Santana, Cra, 17:06.65; Jared Bassett, Mar, 17:07.93; 3, Korey Humberston, CG, 17;35.96; 4, Connor Kasler, HV, 17:44.40; 5, Cory Coppin, MS, 17:46.77; 6, Cole Watson, RR, 17:53.72; 7, Tanner Hickman, PV, 17:54.39; 8, Elliot Jantzer, Pho, 17:55.01; 9, Mike Seus, SM, 17:55.60; 10, Jacob Bowdoin, NHC, 17:58.43; 11, Caleb Howard, Lak, 18:02.29; 12, Jerrod Pucket, Cra, 18:04.06; 13, Zeke Van Patton, Cor, 18:04.79; 14, David Carruth, Hen, 18:05.34; 15, Larz Warn, MS, 18:08.66; 16, Sam Serrelmeyer, CG, 18:16.47; 17, Josh Elliot, Cra, 18:18.28; 18, Kevin Cook, Ash, 18:22.64; 19, Jason Arbour, HV, 18:25.03; 20, Garrett Syvertson, CV, 18:25.42; 21, Mitchell Nesheim, MS, 18:28.15; 22, Kale Coppin, MS, 18:31.88; 23, Mitchell Lofstedt, Ros, 18:33.69; 24, AJ Riggs, Ros, 18:37.06; 25, Sage Berg, CG, 18:38.42.

26, Shawn Elliot, TC, 18:38.74; 27, Wyatt Rice-Narusch, Cra, 18:40.03; 28, Seth Walker, Lak, 18:40.67; 29, Steven Sanders, BH, 18:42.11; 30, Andrew Watson, HV, 18:42.62; 31, Eli Cunningham, NHC, 18:43.64; 32, Dan Engle, Pho, 18:46.19; 33, Linden Loren, BH, 18:46.60; 34, Cole Scherer, Ban, 18:46.60; 35, Chris Cline, HV, 18:49.46; 36, Chris Anderson, CG, 18:50.99; 37, Bo Flora, Mar, 18.52.75; 38, Travis Linville, NM, 18:53.76; 39, Cameron Churchill, Cra, 18:55.86; 40, Brad Nelson, Cor, 19:01.57; 41, David Butler, Hen, 19:05.35; 42, Nick Ferris, Cra, 19:08.67; 43, James Croft, Cra, 19:10.67; 44, Wilder Schaaf, Ash, 19:12.00; 45, Paul Schwarzer, Ash, 19:15.61; 46, Willie Bennett, BH, 19:16.50; 47, Carson Frantz, RR, 19;20.25; 48, Solomon Fernandez, Yre, 19:21.40; 49, Chase Estep, HV, 19:22.03; 50, Max Gorschels, Cor, 19:22.53.

GIRLS TEAM &

Mt. Shasta 55, Ashland 62, Pleasant Valley 117, Yreka 131, Corvallis 139, Hidden Valley 144, Crater 151, Lakeview 188, Roseburg 191, Bandon 224, Henly 227, Mazama 307, Central Valley 342, Glendale 380.

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (TOP 50) &

173;-- 1, Katie Fritzke, MS, 19:43.92; 2, Ashley Baldovino, Lak, 20:04.55; 3, Hannah Soza-Hodgkinson, PV, 20:07.76; 4, Haley Beal, Ash, 20.54.06; 5, Ashley Gilkey, HV, 21:03.03; 6, Joanna Beem, MS, 21:15.11; 7, Aria Hemphill, Ash, 21:18.95; 8, Alyssa Taylor, Ash, 21:23.04; 9, Lindsay Gasik, SM, 21:24.67; 10, Rachael Estabrook, TC, 21:30.57; 11, Malory Peterson, Cor, 31:35.91; 12, Katie Waugh, Hen, 21:37.46; 13 Maggie Strong, MS, 21:44.27; 14, Gina Davis, Yre, 21:51.02; 15, Seena Frantz, Ash, 21:53.06; 16, Cynthia Laiacona, Ms, 22:00.13; 17, Rachel Ledig, Ban, 22:07.60, 18, Ami Martin, Yre, 22:09.12; 19, Samantha Pettibone, Ros, 22:10.24; 20, Carrie Turner, Yre, 22:12.24; 21, Sarah Batten, Cor, 22:18.20; 22, Lindsey Bascom, Cra, 22:30.35; 23, Emily Ogden, PV, 22:30.35; 24, Kara Sheets, Cra, 22:33.81; 25, Moriah Roberge, Mar, 22:35.37.

26, Amy Detrich, MS, 22:44.97; 27, Olivia Clark, Cra, 22:48.77; 28, Courtney Miller, HV, 22:49.18; 29, Bryanna Oelrich, Ros, 22:50.03; 30, Patricia Guterrez, CG, 22:50.48; 31, Jen Johnson, Cor, 22:51.97; 32, Krista Yardley, Yre, 22:54.68; 33, Kelsey O'Sullivan, PV, 23:02.32, 34, Anne Hagy, Pho, 23:08.41; 35, Erika Hultz, Ash, 23:10.16; 36, Kayla Heath, Pho, 23:16.10; 37, Mariah Atkin, PV, 23:20.10; 38, Amber Tomaszewski, HV, 23:20.39; 39, Jordi Hurd, Pho, 23:20.69; 40, Staheli Meyer, PV, 23:27.37; 41, Erin Kroeker, TC, 23:32.19; 42, Camelia Mayfield, Ash, 23:32.43; 43, Becki Lee, Ros, 23:36.41; 44, Alexandra Walton-Weston, Ros, 23:39.24; 45, Amy Birdseye, Cor, 23:39.67; 46, Lacey Vandenberg, Lak, 23:40.21, 47, Kate Ortwein, Lak, 23:42.09; 48, Tori Scott, Mar, 23:43.78; 49, Jamie Richardson, HV, 23:46.36; 50, Alyssa Richardson, Cra, 23:47.34.