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Kings of the King

CENTRAL POINT — The Crater boys cross country team ran away with the competition Wednesday at the inaugural Max King Invitational, but Hidden Valley senior standout Shane Crofoot left the Comets chasing.

Crofoot, 18, crossed the finish line of the 5,000-meter race surrounding The Expo in 15 minutes, 37.47 seconds, less than a second quicker than Crater junior Walter Vail, who was leading a pack of four Crater runners.

Crofoot and Vail were leg-for-leg coming down the final stretch toward the finish line, which Vail crossed in 15:38.46 for second place overall.

Vail was followed by freshman Andy Monroe (15:42.39), senior Devin Rodman (15:43.46), and freshman Derek Tripp (15:57.39) — all from Crater. Sophomore Nathan Edwards, the fifth Crater runner, crossed the finish line in 16:12.75, providing the Comets with a meet-winning score of 22.

Out of 14 teams, Phoenix came in second (81) and Eagle Point took third (103).

“The course is very fast and flat ... it was a prime course to run a very fast time today,” said Crofoot, whose goal for the season is top step of the podium at this year’s 4A state meet. “I started to really run the race at the end of the first mile and then by the second mile I was closing in on the top five.”

Crofoot’s time Wednesday was his best ever 5,000 time by about 20 seconds, he said.

“It was a smashing PR,” he said.

Crater junior Jordan Monroe dominated in the girls race, crossing the finish line in 18:15.28 after having led for nearly the entire race.

“I felt pretty good today ... it was a pretty fast course, we were expecting that,” said Monroe, who clobbered her personal best by about 40 seconds.

Second place was St. Mary’s junior Marissa Dobry (18:38.58), and rounding out the top five were Klamath Union senior Cindy Reed (18:51.88), Phoenix senior Nevina De Luca (19:20), and Eagle Point freshman Ariana Marks (19.25:94).

North Medford freshman Clare Ebert (20:02.18), the eighth-place finisher, led her team to first place (83). Phoenix took second (88) and St. Mary’s finished third (91).

Max King, the meet’s namesake, fired the starting gun for the boys and girls races and handed out awards. The 1998 Crater High graduate has developed into one of the best distance runner’s produced by Southern Oregon.

Following the meet, the 34-year-old King was busy autographing the race bibs of several young runners.

In June, the Bend resident placed fourth in the renowned 100-mile Western States Endurance Run and plans to qualify in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in marathon and the 3,000-meter steeplechase, he said.

King said Crater cross country head coach Justin Loftus called him about two months ago to let him know the school was planning to name the home meet after him.

“I said, ‘Well I am not dead yet,’” King said. “Then (Loftus) said it wasn’t a memorial race, so I said ‘I guess that’s fine.’ It’s a huge honor to have a race named after you and it’s cool just being involved still in the sport. It’s a pleasure to hopefully be an inspiration for these kids to keep going, and keep running, and always set goals for yourself and do the best you can.”

Reach freelance reporter Sam Wheeler at samuelcwheeler@gmail.com

Max King Invitational

BOYS

TEAM SCORES — Crater 22, Phoenix 81, Eagle Point 103, North Medford 113, Ashland 135, Grants Pass 154, Hidden Valley 187, Klamath Union 215, Henley 230, St. Mary’s 268, Mazama 320.

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 20) — 1, Shane Crofoot, HV, 15:37.46; 2, Walter Vail, Cra, 15:38.03; 3, Andy Monroe, Cra, 15:42.39; 4, Devin Rodman, Cra, 15:43.46; 5, Derek Tripp, Cra, 15:57.39; 6, Kevin VanDyke, EP, 15:59.82; 7, Randy Mena, Pho, 16:05.14; 8, Nathan Edwards, Cra, 16:12.75; 9, Maxel Belnap, GP, 16:13.1; 10, Connor Covey, NM, 16:17.71.

11, Rio Lopez, Rogue River, 16:32.39; 12, Tanner Shipley, Cra, 16:32.48; 13, Raymond Impara, Ash, 16:39.26; 14, Erik Olsen, Cra, 16:40.46; 15, Jacob Bergren, Pho, 16:51.44; 16, Lane Nahss, EP, 16:52.57; 17, Griff Hokanson, Cra, 16:54.69; 18, Nathan Panagos, EP, 16:55.55; 19, Nigel Leonis, Pho, 16:59.96; 20, John Shipley, EP, 17:04.71.

GIRLS

TEAM SCORES — North Medford 83, Phoenix 88, St. Mary’s 91, Grants Pass 98, Crater 117, Ashland 145, Klamath Union 159, Hidden Valley 185, Henley 208, Eagle Point 267, Mazama 330.

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 20) — 1, Jordan Monroe, Cra, 18:15.28; 2, Marissa Dobry, StM, 18:38.58; 3, Cindy Reed, KU, 18:51.88; 4, Nevina De Luca, Pho, 19:20; 5, Ariana Marks, EP, 19:25.94; 6, Zaruba Anderson, HV, 19:49.75; 7, Christine Impara, Ash, 20:00.18; 8, Clare Ebert, NM, 20:02.18; 9, Emma Amundsen, Pho, 20:05.38; 10, Claire Pryor, Ash, 20:09.75.

11, Brooke Johnson, GP, 20:15.75; 12, Jessica Diaz, NM, 20:18.75; 13, Mary Backes, GP, 20:20.11; 14, Shayla Potratz, Pho, 20:22.75; 15, Jaci Brumble, NM, 20:27.61; 16, Gianna Isola, StM, 20:30.44; 17, McKenzie Moore, Ash, 20:31.21; 18, Savannah Greenwade, NM, 20:39.5; 19, Danielle Jantzer, Pho, 20:40.33; 20, Alex Staley, CC, 20:46.

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Monroe
Hidden Valley's Shane Crofoot begins to move away from a pack of Crater runners on his way to winning the Max King Invitational. PHOTO BY ANDY ATKINSON