Gorze, Crater boys win 5A state titles
EUGENE — By virtue of his own dominance, Tyrone Gorze had nothing but blue track both in front of him and behind him as he hit the final stretch Saturday at Lane Community College.
When you’re that far ahead of the competition, that’s the luxury the Crater junior was granted.
“I stayed pretty focused for the most part, but yeah, toward the third mile, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ve got a pretty healthy lead and can close out fast,’” Gorze said. “I did have a chance to soak it in.”
Gorze led what was a banner day for the Crater boys, as he was half of the Comets’ one-two finish with freshman Josiah Tostenson. Gorze captured the Class 5A individual title with a time of 15 minutes, 5.2 seconds — 30 seconds ahead of Tostenson in second place — and led Crater to its first team title since 2018 at the Class 5A cross-country state championships.
Gorze is the first Crater runner to win an individual title since Andy Monroe went back-to-back in 2016 and 2017.
“It means a lot. I’ve been working for this since I started high school,” said Gorze, who finished ninth as a freshman in 2019. “I’ve always known I wanted to do something like this. I was definitely looking forward to this and what’s to come.”
Knowing that Gorze still has a track season in the spring and the entirety of his senior year still to come, that’s a scary thought for those trying to chase him down.
As well as the fact that Tostenson — who ran a time of 15:35 — is just a freshman.
But on this day, it was the entirety of the Crater team that delivered.
The Comets had four of the top 10 finishers, with senior Tate Broesder (16:21.4) and sophomore Shaun Garnica (16:21.7) finishing ninth and 10th, respectively.
Crater captured the team title with 35 points. Crescent Valley was second with 54, while South Albany was third with 122.
“Tate, he’s a golfer, he did track last year, he does cross-country with me, he does basketball, he’s going to swim … he does it all and he got top 10 today,” Loftus said. “He doesn’t have all the time to do all the work that some of these guys are doing, but he came in and just brought it. It’s just a testament to just how much will and heart and grit these guys have.”
Ashland junior Nathan Stein (15:54) finished sixth. The Grizzlies, the 2019 5A champions, finished seventh.
Crater’s Ryder Hvall, the Comets’ fifth and final runner to count toward the team standings, finished 20th.
“I just love to see it,” Tostenson said of Crater’s big day. “That’s what we want to shoot for, that’s what I’ve dreamed of going one and two at state. Just to accomplish it, it just means that much more.”
The Comets’ big day at state comes less than two weeks after one of their teammates, Jeffrey Hellman, was injured in a car accident close to the high school. Head coach Justin Loftus spoke after his team’s dominant win at the Midwestern League district meet as well as entering the state meet just how emotional things have been as they prepared for the trip to Eugene.
But with Hellman in their thoughts, the Comets won the team title with plenty of room to spare. Hellmann was in attendance Saturday and was part of the team’s victory picture.
“He was everything,” Tostenson said of Hellman, a junior. “That’s all I could think of is that it was for Jeffrey. We did this for Jeffrey because that’s what he would have wanted — his team to come out and win a state title.”
Gorze had visions of posting a sub-15-minute time, but the sloppy conditions due to rain earlier in the day Saturday likely prevented that from happening even before he started his venture onto the course.
Despite the conditions — the morning rain held off for virtually the entire afternoon — Gorze was able to execute the plan he had coming in.
He not only set the early pace, he was already 10 seconds ahead of Milwaukie’s Logan Law by the time they hit the first mile.
“I just wanted to go out fast and keep that lead and get the job done,” Gorze said. “That’s pretty much the main component. “
Simple as it sounds, Gorze executed his pre-race plan as well as he could have, according to Loftus.
“We mapped this out beforehand and he basically executed the whole thing,” Loftus said. “I think he would have liked to go sub-15 today, but a win’s a win.”
Tostenson, who finished the first mile in fourth, was the closest to Gorze at the 2-mile mark — albeit with the two teammates separated by 27 seconds.
The massive lead allowed Gorze to cruise to the finish line, a just and deserved reward for what he had just accomplished. His celebration as he crossed the line was subdued, a reflection of just how Gorze lets his running do much of the talking.
“I maybe didn’t get the time that I wanted to get, but that’s fine,” Gorze said. “I came out with the win, and that’s all you can really ask for.”
“It’s hard to put it into words how hard he works to get to where he is,” Loftus said of Gorze. “He’s a kid that doesn’t really care (about the outside attention), but he definitely shows up to a race and wants to bring it to show people that he’s the guy. I think he’s got a whole lot more in him honestly.”
In the 5A girls race, third-place finishes were the theme for Ashland and its top runner, senior Grace Yaconelli, who logged a time of 18:56.8.
Corvallis took the 5A team title with 42 points, followed up by Crescent Valley (74 points) and Ashland (124 points). Crescent Valley freshman Emily Wisniewski won with a time of 18:27.9.
“I feel like that’s what we were hoping for,” Yaconelli said about the Grizzlies’ third-place finish. “I felt good overall. I felt a little more taxed and kind of dead during (the race) than I thought I would, but I think that I still put it out there.”
At the Class 6A level, South Medford’s Michael Maiorano medaled with an eighth-place finish, running a time of 15:24.4.
With senior Connor Singer placing 32nd (16:09.20) and Adam Cannon 67th (16:56.00), the Panthers were able to place 10th in the team standings.
In the 6A girls race, Grants Pass’ Madison Wilt finished 37th, while Southwest Conference champion Estella Gutches of North Medford was 75th.
Black Tornado junior Reese Meager was her team’s top finisher in 63rd (20:18.40) as North finished 15th in the team standings.
CROSS-COUNTRY STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
TEAM SCORES (Top 5): Jesuit 66, Central Catholic 83, Lincoln 112, Franklin 140, Sherwood 209.
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 5): 1, James Crabtree, Sherwood, 15:04.50; 2, Charlie North, Franklin, 15:05.20; 3, Wesley Shipsey, Central Catholic, 15:08.10; 4, Jacob Nenow, Jesuit, 15:09.80; 5, Caleb Lakeman, Tualatin, 15:15.10.
SOUTH MEDFORD (10th, 268): 8, Michael Maiorano, 15:24.40; 32, Connor Singer, 16:09.20; 67, Adam Cannon, 16:56.00; 74, DJ Scott, 17:02.10; 100, Chase Wallace, 17:28.20.
TEAM SCORES (Top 5): Summit 55, Jesuit 58, Lincoln 101, Franklin 142, Ida B. Wells 184.
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 5): 1, Kate Peters, Lake Oswego, 17:28.70; 2, Chloe Foerster, Jesuit, 17:35.00; 3, Kaiya Robertson, Franklin, 17:44.60; 4, Charlotte Richman, Ida B. Wells, 17:59.30; 5, Emma Bennett, Jesuit, 18:01.80.
GRANTS PASS (10th, 303): 37, Madison Wilt, 19:33.60; 49, Bailey Moritz, 19:52.50; 56, Mary Sturley, 20:05.10; 91, Taylor Weber, 21:06.20; 93, Bela Marshak, 21:10.60.
NORTH MEDFORD (15th, 381): 64, Reese Meager, 20:18.40; 72, Saundra Parsons, 20:33.90; 75, Estella Gutches, 20:36.90; 77, Eleanor Nichol, 20:40.20; 123, Juliana Scull, 22:38.40.
TEAM SCORES (Top 5): Crater 35, Crescent Valley 54, South Albany 122, Wilsonville 142, Hood River Valley 152.
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 5): 1, Tyrone Gorze, Crater, 15:05.20; 2, Josiah Tostenson, Crater, 15:35.00; 3, Juan Diego Contreras, The Dalles, 15:38.60; 4, Henry Coughlan, Crescent Valley, 15:47.70; 5, Logan Law, Milwaukie, 15:50.80.
CRATER (1st, 35): 1, Tyrone Gorze, 15:05.20; 2, Josiah Tostenson, 15:35.00; 9, Tate Broesder, 16:21.40; 10, Shaun Garnica, 16:21.70; 20, Ryder Hvall, 17:11.20.
ASHLAND (7th, 208): 6, Nathan Stein, 15:54.20; 24, Finley Taylor, 17:21.50; 26, Luke Seeley, 17:26.40; 77, Ati Peek, 19:30.10; 90, Zeb LaCoste, 20:42.10.
TEAM SCORES (Top 5): Corvallis 42, Crescent Valley 75, Ashland 124, Hood River Valley 129, Wilsonville 130.
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 5): 1, Emily Wisniewski, Crescent Valley, 18:27.90; 2, Megumi Ludlow, West Albany, 18:53.10; 3, Grace Yaconelli, Ashland, 18:56.80; 4, Isabel Swain, North Salem, 19:11.90; 5, Ava Betts, Corvallis, 19:28.20.
ASHLAND (3rd, 124): 3, Grace Yaconelli, 18:56.80; 16, Annika Wells, 20:34.70; 39, Stella Mason, 21:29.10; 41, Saniyah Ayala, 21:36.50; 44, Nikaela Apilada, 21:46.40
CRATER (7th, 153): 10, Lindsay Siebert, 20:24.60; 22, Emma West, 20:51.30; 26, Samantha Payne, 20:57.30; 37, Haylee Baldwin, 21:21.60; 75, Gracie Bolanos, 23:44.60.
Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.