Comets streak to SSC district titles
Ashland's Wilder Schaaf won the championship no one seemed too excited about, at least outwardly.
Crater's Jessica Vig, on the other hand, chased hers with considerable vigor.
The two captured the boys and girls individual titles in the Southern Sky Conference cross country championships at Steens Sports Complex in Klamath Falls.
Schaaf beat Crater's Josh Elliott to the finish line in the 5,000-meter race, claiming his first conference crown.
Crater scored 24 points to emerge with another team championship — it's fourth straight — and Ashland placed second with 55 points.
Vig, a junior, led the Comet girls to their fourth straight title as well. They scored 26 points to Ashland's 31.
Schaaf and Elliott, both seniors, will be among the favorites to win the Class 5A championship next Saturday, when all classifications converge on Lane Community College in Eugene for the state meet.
At district, the top two teams and the top four individuals not on those teams advance.
Elliott, in fact, is the defending 5A champ, and Schaaf has the fastest time in the state at that level.
Still, the SSC crown was not the crown jewel either pursued with great conviction.
"There wasn't really a goal to win today," Ashland coach Bob Julian Jr. said. "He's a senior and we talked about it. If he was feeling pretty good and didn't have to bleed to go for the win, then he should go for it. You don't get the chance to win a district championship all the time, and he hasn't won one before."
But with state a week away and regionals, which aren't a part of the high school season, soon after, there are bigger races to be had.
Schaaf has grown comfortable pushing the pace, and that's what he did Saturday en route to winning in 16 minutes, 59.81 seconds over a difficult course. He led through the first mile and just kept on truckin'.
Elliott's time was 17:12.97, and two other Comets, Jon Obeso and Kade Jensen, were third and fourth. Crater had five of the first eight placers.
Elliott has historically performed well on big stages, and there are enough of those coming up, said coach Justin Loftus.
"I think we'll see a little more of Josh next week," he said. "He's never been big on conference meets, not that this wasn't a huge show today. Teamwise, we definitely wanted to win. But it's the week before state and we just wanted to get through it."
Loftus praised Wilder for running "a great race" and acknowledged the Grizzly's vast improvement since last fall.
"But I think they might be a little closer at state," Loftus said of Wilder and Elliott.
The girls race was a toss-up.
Crater has several runners who have finished as its No. 1 this fall, and Loftus had no preconceived idea how the district meet would play out.
"I don't see anything, really, that's set in stone with the girls from week to week," he said. "It's weird. I knew one would break out today, I just didn't know which one."
Then came Vig. She has four top-five placings this season, but this is her first victory.
Vig clocked 21:07.97, while Ashland's Mia Dougherty was second in 21:37.15.
Vig and teammate Arianne Laferriere ran together at the outset as Crater "buddied people up," said Loftus.
"They broke out at about a mile, and Jessica really put the hammer down," he said. "They both had a good lead at two miles, then a couple Ashland girls caught them at the end. But Jessica was pretty far out there."
Ashland's Camelia Mayfield was third and Laferriere placed fourth.
TEAMS — Crater 24, Ashland 55, Mazama 66, Klamath Union 90.
INDIVIDUALS — 1, Wilder Schaaf, Ash, 16:59.81; 2, Josh Elliott, Cra, 17:12.97; 3, Jon Obeso, Cra, 17:18.25; 4, Kade Jensen, Cra, 17:18.62; 5, Kirby Garlitz, Maz, 17:27.56; 6, Paul Schwarzer, Ash, 17:31.88; 7, Max Runia, Cra, 17:43.41; 8, Hunter Sanders, Cra, 17:49. 69; 9, Paul Adams, Maz, 18:01.72; 10, Culley Dumbeck, KU, 18:16.53; 11, Tony Barrett, Cra, 18:23.09; 12, Neil Seibert, Cra, 18:25.88; 13, Alek Angeli, Maxama, 18:28.09; 14, Karl Britsch, KU, 18:34.44; 15, Sam Jackson, Ash, 18:45.50.
16, Isaac Schaaf, Ash, 18:53.30; 17, Walsh Cord, Ash, 18:55.81; 18, Noah Kass, Ash, 18:57.88; 19, Miles Hanson, Maz, 19:03.81; 20, Nathan Snoozy, Maz, 19:27.18; 21, Reed Phillips, KU, 19:41.97; 22, Cody Warren, EP, 10:09.59; 23, Harry Holzgang, KU, 20:21.28; 24, Tee Nguyen, KU, 20:39.91; 25, Charles Warrington, KU, 20:50.34; 26, Todd Delaney, Maz, 20:53.15; 27, Joshua Arntz, Maz, 21:32.00; 28, Joey Logan, EP, 21:42.91; 29, Alex Dassoff, KU, 22:01.72; 30, Christopher Mann, EP, 24:54.28.
TEAMS — Crater 26, Ashland 31, Klamath Union 88, Mazama 96, Eagle Point incomplete.
INDIVIDUALS — 1, Jessica Vig, Cra, 21:07.97; 2, Mia O'Dougherty, Ash, 21:37.15; 3, Camelia Mayfield, Ash, 21:44.47; 4, Arianne Laferriere, Cra, 21:47.94; 5, Marshall Miller, Ash, 21:53.38; 6, Sarah Hastings, Cra, 22:21.72; 7, Amanda Dalton, Cra, 22:32.12; 8, Jasmyn Andrews, Cra, 22:35.78; 9, Kelly Odion, Ash, 22:45.38; 10, Damaris Remigio, Cra, 22:54.41; 11, Melissa Britsch, KU, 22:55.40; 12, Alex Kiesling, Ash, 22:56.06; 13, Sara Nelson, Maz, 23:07. 75; 14, Stephanie Kersten, Maz, 23:11.41; 15, Megan Ganim, Ash, 23:14.28.
16, Esther Olsen, Cra, 23:20.53; 17, Erin Westfall, KU, 23:35.59; 18, Hannah Ewing, Ash, 23:49.97; 19, Ashley Johnson, EP, 24:04.53; 20, Halie, Budden, KU, 24:33.72; 21, Morgan Anderson, KU, 24:44.59; 22, Chloe Hanks, EP, 24:48.97; 23, Megan Cummings, KU, 24:59.28; 24, Brandee McGonagill, Maz, 24:59.72; 25, Kendall Webber, Maz, 25:06.18; 26, Amanda Warrior, Maz, 26:41.12; 27, Lysa Rudd, KU, 26:44. 66; 28, Karly Law, Maz, 28:56.84; 29, Shaymaa Taha, Maz, 29:46.09.