Comets sweep titles at State of Jefferson
ASHLAND — Crater pulled off its second straight weekend trifecta in the 43rd State of Jefferson Cross Country Invitational Saturday in picturesque Lithia Park.
The Comets won the boys and girls team titles and the girls individual crown here, one week after doing the same at the Chieftain Invitational, the only deviation being the girl winners.
Sophomore Gracie Tostenson was the first female through the State of Jeff finishing chute, ahead of runner-up Sarah Hastings. The two — each with top-10 state times in Class 6A — finished in reverse order last week.
The Comet girls registered 26 points, placing all five scoring runners in the top 10. Ashland was second with 48 points and North Medford third with 135.
On the boys side, Crater didn't have the front-runner, but its depth was enough to secure the team title with 53 points. Shasta scored 95 and North Valley 100.
Zorg Loustalet of Henley provided the excitement of the day, overtaking John Whelan of Etna, Calif., and setting the course record in the process.
The reigning Class 4A and Skyline Conference champion, Loustalet covered the hilly, 5,000-meter course over park trails and beneath canopies of giant shade trees in 15 minutes, 49.3 seconds.
The present course was established four years ago, and Wilder Schaaf of Ashland had the best time on it of 16:05.29 in 2009. Loustalet was two seconds off that mark last year.
"I set out to win the race, obviously, and to get the course record," said Loustalet. "Hopefully it would come with just winning the race.
"Ashland is my favorite place to run. It's a really beautiful place, the trails are nice, not loose or muddy or anything, and there are lots of hills. I like the hills. It's a difficult course but a good one. I'm really happy that I set the record on my favorite course."
Whelan was right behind in 15:50.90, then came Mazama's Paul Adams (16:00.65) and North Valley's Jonathan Cornish (16:14.72).
Crater's first two finishers were Jon Obeso, fifth in 16:33.40, and Neil Seibert, seventh in 16:33.99.
As if the races on back-to-back Saturdays weren't enough, Crater squeezed in a two-mile event in Salem at midweek, and some the Comets labored on loggy legs.
"I think everyone was a little tired," said coach Justin Loftus. "It was a solid week, but we definitely have things to work on."
Crater's presence got the attention of Loustalet, among others.
"Going into this race, I was really stoked because I knew it was going to be a big race," said Loustlet, referring to a top-flight boys field. "Between those guys, somebody was going to have run a really fast time. It turned out that three of us did."
Zoustalet has twice gone faster this season, and his best time is 15:41.8. But he rates this as his best performance given the difficulty of the route.
The victory for Tostenson was her first of 5,000 meters as a varsity competitor. In addition to being second at the Chieftain, she was runner-up to Hastings Wednesday.
"Me and Sarah, we push each other," said Tostenson, whose time was 19:31.41, nearly 11 seconds faster than that of the senior Hastings. "She's one of my great teammates. I look up to her. She's a really good role model, and I like racing with her."
On this day, Tostenson didn't race with anyone. She took off early and opened a 15-second lead.
"I thought there was someone behind me, but I guess not," she said.
"I felt like if I got out faster, it might help me push my pace. Once we started going, I just felt better and kept pushing myself."
Dana Greenblatt of Ashland came in fifth in 20:01.57. She was trailed by Crater's Britney Wimberly and Ashland's Andrea Scherrer.
Megan Hastings and Jasmyn Andrews were the other Comets in the top 10 for team scoring.
TEAM SCORES — Crater 53, Shasta 95, North Valley 100, Roseburg 102, Ashland 114, Henley 150, Grants Pass 177, Mazama 201, Seaside 202, Mt. Shasta 283, Yreka 304, Camas Valley 319.
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 25) — 1, Zorg Loustalet, Hen, 15:49.73; 2, John Whelan, Etn, 15:50.90; 3, Paul Adams, Maz, 16:00.65; 4, Jonathan Cornish, NV, 16:14.72; 5, Jon Obeso, Cra, 16:33.40; 6, Kenny Freeman, Ros, 16:33.73; 7, Neil Seibert, Cra, 16:33.99; 8, Daniel Stoiber, Cra, 16:48.11; 9, David Cornish, NV, 16:55.42; 10, Brett Willyard, Sea, 16:55.71.
11, Hunter Jensen, Sha, 16:58.20; 12, Blake Zufall, Sha, 17:02.73; 13, Benjamin Rodriguez, Ros, 17:05.05; 14, Andrew Youngblood, NV, 17:09.02; 15, Landon Woollard, Sha, 17:09.32; 16, Ben Jackson, Ash, 17:14.34; 17, Sam Jackson, Ash, 17:16.39; 18, Piers Rasmussen, Cra, 17:16.83; 19, Garrison Iams, Hen, 17:23.16; 20, John Martinez, , Cra, 17:23.50; 21, Kahler Waldrop, Cra, 17:23.84; 22, Logan Herman, Tul, 17:31.47; 23, Zach Blanco, RR, 17:34.99; 24, Navarre Herrera, Ash, 17:38.09; 25, Jason Braxton, Cra, 17:38.51.
TEAM SCORES — Crater 26, Ashland 48, North Medford 135, Roseburg 156, Grants Pass 159, University Prep 160, Mt. Shasta 173, Triad Christian 178, Shasta 192, Henley 217.
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 25) — Gracie Tostenson, Cra, 19:31.41; 2, Sarah Hastings, Cra, 19:42.36; 3, Megan James, Sha, 19;53.90; 4, Sarah Estabrook, TC, 19:54.25; 5, Dana Greenblatt, Ash, 20:01.57; 6, Britney Wimberly, Cra, 20:15.46; 7, Andrea Scherrer, Ash, 20:24.15; 8, Megan Hastings, Cra, 20:26.10; 9, Stephanie Rasmussen, AC, 20:30.53; 10, Jasmyn Andrews, Cra, 20:33.05.
11, Helen Mino Faukner, UP, 20:33.38; 12, Emily Sears, NV, 20:42.44; 13, Madeline Chaves, Ash, 20:53.45; 14, Alex Kiesling, Ash, 21:05.17; 15, Becky Travis, Etn, 21:07.94; 16, Sara Dunagan, Ash, 21:19.70; 17, Quinn Blackwolf, Ash, 21:21.57; 18, Kyra Gutermuth, Trin, 21:22.90; 19, Kirsten Hanken, TC, 21:24.82; 20, Ellen Sampson, MS, 21:26.04; 21, Charity Schmidt, GP, 21:26.59; 22, Tori Sigel, GP, 21:28.51; 23, Jaycie Dickson, NM, 21:33.50; 24, Alyssa Stauffer, UP, 21:41.58; 25, Hayley Girod, Ros, 21:44.28.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email firstname.lastname@example.org