EUGENE -- Marshfield junior Alex Garcia-Silver went to the early lead and increased it each mile for a convincing win in the 4A boys race at the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union cross country championships on Saturday at Lane Community College.
Garcia-Silver ran 16:02.2 for the win, pulling away from Siuslaw senior Chad Hughes, 16:30.7. Phoenix senior Elwood Hosking was third in 16:50.0, just nipping Vikings junior Samuel Ulrich, who was credited with the same time in fourth.
“I felt good out there,” Garcia-Silver said. “It was a good race, trying to push myself.”
Garcia-Silver went to Colombia over the summer and ran a track season in South America. He is a dual citizen, Colombian-American. He went back down to Paraguay for a week in September and won gold in the South American junior cross country championships.
“I did a ton of training,” Garcia-Silver said. “Just trying to get back that season I lost. I was just like, go out there and focus, dedicate myself and make something of myself for all the time I lost.”
Garcia-Silver thought the course was a little slippery, but he was well prepared for it.
“The course was muddy and slushy, but that’s what it is this time of year in Oregon,” Garcia-Silver said. “Being from Coos Bay, it’s been raining all week down there, so I was ready and tested for it.”
Siuslaw scored 42 points to easily outdistance runner-up Sisters (88), making it a sweep of the 4A team titles for the Vikings. The Siuslaw girls beat Philomath by one point, 85-86, for the 4A girls title. Cottage Grove and Valley Catholic earned the third and fourth place trophies, with 93 points apiece.
“I give credit to our coaching staff,” Siuslaw coach Chris Johnson said. “Amy Ford and Jack Butler have been here every step of the way, to kind of instill that we could do this and they did it. We go to work everyday hoping for the best result possible.”
Siuslaw had three runners in the top seven, but Johnson credited his team’s depth with pulling it out.
“We are not good because of our top three,” Johnson said. “We have enough depth in our fourth through seventh guys to weather a lot of storms.”
The 6A boys race did not disappoint as Sherwood senior James Crabtree made it a game of catch-me-if-you-can. Crabtree opened up with a 4:37.7 mile, but a pack of 25 runners were in close pursuit between six and 10 seconds behind.
There were still eight runners within 10 seconds of Crabtree at the two-mile mark. Then the pack started closing in on him.
“I felt good going into it,” Crabtree said. “My best race is to take it from the start.”
When they hit the track, four runners were in contention for the win: Franklin senior Charlie North, along with juniors Wes Shipsey of Central Catholic and Jacob Nenow of Jesuit had all caught Crabtree.
“They came for me at the end there,” Crabtree said. “I had to reassess on the track. I had to gather myself again, because it is pretty demoralizing to have some of the best kids in the state just run right past you.”
For a few moments it looked like North would get the win, but Crabtree found another gear to prevail in the end. Crabtree beat North by less than a second, 15:04.5 to 15:05.2. Shipsey finished third in 15:08.1 and Nenow held on for fourth in 15:09.8.
“It feels really good,” Crabtree said. “It’s been a dream for a long time.”
Jesuit, with five in the top and 18 and all seven runners in the top 27 overall, ran phenomenally as a team to defeat three other nationally ranked squads. Jesuit won with 66 points, ahead of Central Catholic (83), Lincoln (112) and defending champion Franklin (140).
“We are really proud of these kids,” Jesuit coach Tom Rothenberger said. “This group certainly rose to the challenge. Our boys executed. I’m super proud of what they accomplished.”
Nenow reached his goal of finishing in the top five, but was more happy for the team's success.
“That’s probably more important,” Nenow said. “Two years ago, we got second, so we really wanted to win state this year.”
Crater junior Tyrone Gorze blitzed the first mile in 4:36.5 and never looked back to win the 5A boys race in 15: 05.2, leading the Comets to the team title.
“I felt really good the first mile,” Gorze said. “I felt I had to push a lot through miles two and three, but for the most part I felt pretty good.”
Asked if he was hurting after opening up with such a fast pace, Gorze thought he held it together.
“It was probably my slowest mile, but I pushed through it pretty well,” Gorze said. “I hurt a little bit, but it’s a race and it always hurts.”
Comet freshman Josiah Tostenson closed hard for second overall in 15:35.0 to beat The Dalles junior Juan Diego Contreras, third in 15:38.6.
Crater was missing its third man due to injury, sophomore Jeffrey Hellman, but still prevailed over a strong Crescent Valley team for the title, 35-54.
“It’s amazing,” Gorze said. “We definitely showed up. I think all season we were planning on doing this.”
“We ran like we have been training all season,” said Crater coach Justin Loftus. “It’s been an emotional week, losing our third guy. They all stepped up. It was incredible to watch. Tyrone’s performance was right on par, Tosty’s (Tostenson) was right on par and the rest of our guys stepped up.”
Three other Comets finished in the top 20: senior Tate Broesder (ninth in 16:21.4), sophomore Shaun Garnica (10th in 16:21.7) and junior Ryder Hvall (20th in 17:11.2).
Enterprise senior Zac Knapp completed an undefeated season with a convincing victory in 15:52.3, leading the Outlaws to their second straight state title. Knapp took it out hard from the gun, running a 4:46 first mile to put his competitors away early.
“That has been my strategy every meet,” Knapp said. “Just to go out as hard as I can and kill them the first mile. That’s the tactic and I executed it perfectly today.”
La Pine junior Wyatt Montgomery was second in 16:28.3, ahead of Oregon Episcopal junior Olin Gister, 16:31.7.
Enterprise had all five scoring runners finish in the top 18 places to easily outdistance second place Westside Christian 50-86. Burns (92) and Oregon Episcopal (98) also took home trophies in third and fourth place, respectively.
“I thought they did a tremendous job,” Enterprise coach Dan Moody said. ”They really competed well. We wanted to have our top five in the top 20 and we did that.”
“I love my teammates,” added Knapp. “I will always remember them. They have been such a huge part of my life and to accomplish this with them this year is a dream come true.”
St. Stephen’s Academy senior Colin Friend took control in the final mile, pulling away from Knappa junior Isaiah Rodriguez to win the individual title in 16:23.5 to 16:28.8. Heppner junior Trevor Nichols finished third in 16:48.2, just ahead of Pine Eagle senior Caleb Brown, 16:49.7.
“If he (Rodriguez) hadn’t been there I would have been back with the second pack,” said Friend. “I’m grateful he was pushing me. I opened up some ground and then the last mile I went for it.”
Friend is the second straight athlete from St. Stephen’s Academy to win the individual title, after Seth Bergeron won in 2019.
“It means a lot,” Friend added. “I’ve been working really hard for it. I’m really looking forward to getting back to Portland and keep working hard this winter for a good track season.”
Taylor Fox was fifth overall in 16:55.3, leading Union to it’s fourth straight title with a 39-43 victory over Bandon. Heppner finished third with 123, just ahead of Culver’s 125.